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July 26, 2001 - July 26, 2001

Govt dole for quake repair finds few takers! Thursday, July 26, 2001

By SOURAV MUKHERJEE, TOINS & AGENCIES
AHMEDABAD: Imagine officials of the Ahmedabad collectorate going to the doorsteps of those whose houses were damaged by the quake, trying to convince them about the need to avail of the second and final instalment of relief money for repair and retrofitting!


If you find that incredible, then take this data into consideration: In the first phase of the disbursal of the relief money, there was a mad rush confounded by the 'me-first' syndrome. A sum of Rs 14 crore was distributed amongst 19,200 beneficiaries. Six months have gone by since the quake and today the state government machinery is still waiting to distribute the remaining Rs 17 crore. There are practically no takers!


Soon as the quake, the Ahmedabad collectorate was thronged by victims wanting to avail of relief doled out by the state government. An amount of Rs 14 crore was distributed among 17,000 families for repairs.


But that was just the first phase, entailing 40 per cent of the promised monetary relief. Six months later, the scenario is completely different. Promise of two more phases (40 and 20 per cent) in the pipeline for those rendered homeless and with cracked-up houses has literally failed to evoke any response.


Only 700 of the original list of beneficiaries have come forth with requisitions for the second phase of the relief dole. The reason is simple _ the monetary grant has proved to be too little, too late. And the formalities required to be completed before obtaining the aid in the second phase are too many.


In many a case, mostly of the G-2, G-3 (minor damage) categories, the relief amount was found to be as little as Rs 2,000 or Rs 3,000. This, coupled with the lengthy formalities _ preparing indemnity bonds, obtaining structural safety certificates and providing detailed proof of expenditure made against the first phase of monetary dole _ that need to be completed could have demoralised the beneficiaries who refuse to go through the pains, only to get peanuts.


Sources at the collectorate said 32 mamlatdars were deputed in June to draw up a detailed report on the repair work being conducted with doles. "We found that 50 per cent of those in G-3, G-4 categories were maintaining a brisk pace of repairs."


The report exposed a disparity in repair work between work accomplished within city limits and the satellite townships or suburbs. Only 60 per cent of the job (in the first phase) was found completed within city limits compared with the 90 per cent outside.


As a fallout of this, instead of quake-hit Amdavadis approaching the collectorate again to get their applications for the next instalment of relief money cleared, the collectorate has constituted 25 special teams to reach out to the masses and convince them on the need for completion of the second phase.


"It is a strange situation. Suddenly we find that the interest has waned among the beneficiaries and not many are inclined to go through all the trouble for the second phase," remarks an official.


This despite the fact that the authorities have decided to club the second and third phase of 40 and 20 per cent relief doles and cutting down on formalities. "We can only take our offices to the peoples' door-steps so that we finish the disbursement soon," says Nalin Thakar, additional collector in-charge of distribution of the relief amount.


But, quake-hit Amdavadis are not convinced. Like those who resided in Sangemarmar Apartment, where 11 persons were killed. Five flats are now being readied for use.


"We are unable to start afresh as each flat measures 250 to 305 square metre and the relief amount offered for rebuilding (Rs 1.75 lakh) or repairing (Rs 2-3 lakh for every block) is next to nothing. The government has not been fair," laments Bakulbhai Desai whose 12-year-old daughter Prutha's arm had to be amputated after it got trapped under the tonnes of debris for over 32 hours.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Govt dole for quake repair finds few takers! Thursday, July 26, 2001

By SOURAV MUKHERJEE, TOINS & AGENCIES
AHMEDABAD: Imagine officials of the Ahmedabad collectorate going to the doorsteps of those whose houses were damaged by the quake, trying to convince them about the need to avail of the second and final instalment of relief money for repair and retrofitting!


If you find that incredible, then take this data into consideration: In the first phase of the disbursal of the relief money, there was a mad rush confounded by the 'me-first' syndrome. A sum of Rs 14 crore was distributed amongst 19,200 beneficiaries. Six months have gone by since the quake and today the state government machinery is still waiting to distribute the remaining Rs 17 crore. There are practically no takers!


Soon as the quake, the Ahmedabad collectorate was thronged by victims wanting to avail of relief doled out by the state government. An amount of Rs 14 crore was distributed among 17,000 families for repairs.


But that was just the first phase, entailing 40 per cent of the promised monetary relief. Six months later, the scenario is completely different. Promise of two more phases (40 and 20 per cent) in the pipeline for those rendered homeless and with cracked-up houses has literally failed to evoke any response.


Only 700 of the original list of beneficiaries have come forth with requisitions for the second phase of the relief dole. The reason is simple _ the monetary grant has proved to be too little, too late. And the formalities required to be completed before obtaining the aid in the second phase are too many.


In many a case, mostly of the G-2, G-3 (minor damage) categories, the relief amount was found to be as little as Rs 2,000 or Rs 3,000. This, coupled with the lengthy formalities _ preparing indemnity bonds, obtaining structural safety certificates and providing detailed proof of expenditure made against the first phase of monetary dole _ that need to be completed could have demoralised the beneficiaries who refuse to go through the pains, only to get peanuts.


Sources at the collectorate said 32 mamlatdars were deputed in June to draw up a detailed report on the repair work being conducted with doles. "We found that 50 per cent of those in G-3, G-4 categories were maintaining a brisk pace of repairs."


The report exposed a disparity in repair work between work accomplished within city limits and the satellite townships or suburbs. Only 60 per cent of the job (in the first phase) was found completed within city limits compared with the 90 per cent outside.


As a fallout of this, instead of quake-hit Amdavadis approaching the collectorate again to get their applications for the next instalment of relief money cleared, the collectorate has constituted 25 special teams to reach out to the masses and convince them on the need for completion of the second phase.


"It is a strange situation. Suddenly we find that the interest has waned among the beneficiaries and not many are inclined to go through all the trouble for the second phase," remarks an official.


This despite the fact that the authorities have decided to club the second and third phase of 40 and 20 per cent relief doles and cutting down on formalities. "We can only take our offices to the peoples' door-steps so that we finish the disbursement soon," says Nalin Thakar, additional collector in-charge of distribution of the relief amount.


But, quake-hit Amdavadis are not convinced. Like those who resided in Sangemarmar Apartment, where 11 persons were killed. Five flats are now being readied for use.


"We are unable to start afresh as each flat measures 250 to 305 square metre and the relief amount offered for rebuilding (Rs 1.75 lakh) or repairing (Rs 2-3 lakh for every block) is next to nothing. The government has not been fair," laments Bakulbhai Desai whose 12-year-old daughter Prutha's arm had to be amputated after it got trapped under the tonnes of debris for over 32 hours.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Gujarat budget session begins Thursday, July 26, 2001

By PTI
GANDHINAGAR: The month-long budget session of the Gujarat legislative assembly will commence from Thursday with the presentation of state budget for the year 2001-02 by state finance minister Vajubhai Vala.


The full-fledged revised budget of the state would be presented in the house after five months budget estimates were presented in the house in February last.


The state government had adopted five months budget estimates due to the devastating earthquake on January 26.


It was likely that the government may impose certain taxes in view of the prevailing situation after the earthquake.


Meanwhile, the opposition Congress party has chalked out issues relating to post-quake measures and forest scam to grill government on the floor of the house.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Central govt employees on strike in Gujarat Thursday, July 26, 2001

By PTI
AHMEDABAD: Central government employees in Gujarat on Wednesday stayed away from work to protest against 'anti-workers' policies of the Central government.


The employees, including scientists of Physical Research Laboratory, remained on leave in response to the call by the Central government employees body.


They were protesting privatisation and liberalisation policies, globalisation and curtailment of the existing benefits of the employees, a release said.


The employees in other central government offices also joined the strike.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Artistes pour out quake pathos Thursday, July 26, 2001

By TOINS & AGENCIES
BHUJ: The black Friday on R-Day is six months behind us, but the 'Gadgadati' as named by the people of Kutch is still felt in the mind of people amidst talks of pain and misery.


Now is the time to organise entertainment programme for earthquake -hit people in Bhuj, Anjar, Ropar and Bhachau to ease the stress and tension of a tormenting event. The first such programme was organised at the tin tent city on Bhuj-Mundra road here, where over 600 families are living. Titled Rhythm of Rann all its artistes were from remote villages of Kutch and they all have been affected by EQ.


Artistes from Hajipur, Ludiya, Banni, Bhachau, Gandhidham and Bhuj, Anjar and Mandvi performed on a specially erected Satsang Sabha Gruha at the tin tent city. Abu Mir, Musa Gulam Jat, Alana Sumra, Samat Pathan, Amrutlal Barot, Surat Motinath, Ramju Langa, performed folk instruments like Jodiya Pawa, Morchung, Rawan Hattha, Dhol, Matka and Ghamela.


They all shared the agony of the quake. Umesh Jodiya, for instance, lost his house at Soniwad, one of the worst-hit localities of Bhuj. He played 'Morchung' and swallowed in all his pain. People who gathered to look Kutchi programme at the Tin Tent city were seen laughing. Children had a smile on their faces. This programme was organised by the Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan temple.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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