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June 6, 2001 - June 6, 2001

NGOs in Kutch doubtful over rehabilitation work Wednesday, June 6, 2001

The Times Of India
BHUJ, June 6: Several Non-Government Organisations, which had rushed in with proposals to take up rehabilitation projects in the earthquake-ravaged Kutch district of Gujarat, are now having second thoughts over their decisions.

The NGOs, mostly set up by industrial houses and some from other states with very little grassroot connection in the district, were facing ticklish problems and therefore were keen to switch over to infrastructural development from the present responsibility of rehabilitating the quake-affected people, according to official sources here.

Besides the routine problem of politics and casteism in the villages, the fact that the rehabilitation project was time-consuming and long-drawn has made many of the NGOs to have a second thought on their decisions, they added.

The NGOs now want just to restrict themselves to building schools and health centres and other such facilities rather than getting involved in building shelters for those rendered homeless in the quake. (PTI)

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


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NGOs in Kutch doubtful over rehabilitation work Wednesday, June 6, 2001

The Times Of India
BHUJ, June 6: Several Non-Government Organisations, which had rushed in with proposals to take up rehabilitation projects in the earthquake-ravaged Kutch district of Gujarat, are now having second thoughts over their decisions.

The NGOs, mostly set up by industrial houses and some from other states with very little grassroot connection in the district, were facing ticklish problems and therefore were keen to switch over to infrastructural development from the present responsibility of rehabilitating the quake-affected people, according to official sources here.

Besides the routine problem of politics and casteism in the villages, the fact that the rehabilitation project was time-consuming and long-drawn has made many of the NGOs to have a second thought on their decisions, they added.

The NGOs now want just to restrict themselves to building schools and health centres and other such facilities rather than getting involved in building shelters for those rendered homeless in the quake. (PTI)

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


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Advani rejects demand for separate Kutch state Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Pradeep Mallik, IANS
Bhuj, June 5: Union Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani Monday rejected the demand for a separate state of Kutch or giving the region the status of a Union territory.

"At the moment we are concentrating on reaching relief to the quake-affected people of Kutch... Our concern is that the people of Kutch get all that the administration is planning for them," he told mediapersons on the sidelines of a press conference addressed by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee here.

Advani accompanied Vajpayee during his two-day visit of Gujarat to take stock of the relief and rehabilitation of the quake-affected people of the state. A quake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit Gujarat on January 26, killing about 25,000 people and leaving tens of thousands injured and homeless. Kutch bore the brunt of the devastation.

"There is a subdued feeling among the people of Kutch for getting Union territory status or being carved out of Gujarat as a separate state. It has to be removed. It will be removed by our efforts," Advani said.

The demand has been made by some organizations and individuals, including the erstwhile ruler of Kutch, Parag Mulji. The demand has gained momentum in the wake of the quake, as there is a widespread feeling that the state administration is going slow on relief and rehabilitation of the quake-affected people of the area. Even Pushpadan Gadhvi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament from Kutch, has supported the idea of Union territory status for the region.

News Source : Indiaabroad News Service [ Website for the NRI ]


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Vajpayee admits to flaws in quake relief Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Deccan Chronicle
Bhuj, June 5: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Monday admitted that there were shortcomings in the State government’s package for quake survivors and announced a Rs 330-crore package for the rehabilitation of Kutch, one of the worst-hit areas of Gujarat in this year’s earthquake.

Addressing a press conference, he said Rs 160 crore had been sanctioned from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for repair of school buildings flattened by the quake and Rs 100 crore for the construction of a hospital in Bhuj.

Vajpayee announced a contribution of Rs 70 crore from the relief fund to help 300 villages in Kutch fight drought.

He said the rehabilitation package worked out by the Gujarat government was "not without shortcomings" but declined to pinpoint them. The State government has been asked to remove those shortcomings, the Prime Minister added.

Vajpayee’s announcement of the package as well as admission of shortcomings came a day after he was greeted with black flag demonstrations and bandh in Bhuj and Anjar on the first day of his two-day visit to quake-affected areas of the State.

After visiting some villages in Bachao and Rapar to assess progress in rehabilitation work, the Prime Minister said removal of debris of collapsed buildings deeded to be speed up. He said there was need to do more for the dairy and handicrafts industry in Kutch.

Meanwhile, villagers of Chapardi on Monday announced that they would rename the village as Atalnagar after its reconstruction. Vajpayee had earlier laid the foundation stone for the reconstruction of the village.`

News Source : Deccan Chronicle [ Lightning News ]


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Vajpayee sees 'shortcomings' in quake relief work Wednesday, June 6, 2001

The Hindu
BHUJ (Kutch), JUNE 5. The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, today censured the Gujarat Government for ``some shortcomings'' in the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts for the victims of the January 26 earthquake and said the State and the Centre had plans to remove the shortcomings.
Refusing to elaborate on the shortcomings, the Prime Minister, who was addressing reporters before leaving for New Delhi after a two-day tour of Kutch district, said, ``I have told that to the State Government.''

Significantly, while repeatedly praising the efforts of non- government organisations in the relief and rehabilitation activities, he did not laud even once the steps being taken by the State administration, except to say that the task was ``gigantic'' and the State had taken up the challenge.

Admitting that a section of the people in Kutch had a ``suppressed feeling'' of being discriminated against, Mr. Vajpayee expressed the hope that the steps being taken by the State and Central Governments would help remove such feelings.

The Prime Minister directed a question on the demand for a separate statehood or at least Union Territory status for Kutch in view of the ``injustice'' being done by the State administration to the Union Home Minister, Mr. L. K. Advani, who was accompanying him. Mr. Advani said this was not the time to consider the status of the district when the top priority was reconstruction.

Mr. Vajpayee also announced a Rs. 70-crore grant from the Prime Minister's Relief fund for drought-proofing of 300 villages in Kutch district and another Rs. 160 crores for repairing and reconstruction of quake-damaged school buildings and other educational activities in the district, besides the Rs. 100 crores announced earlier for the construction of a civil hospital and medical college in Bhuj. The State civil hospital was completely destroyed in the January 26 quake killing 182 patients and staff. As part of the economic re-generation programme, steps were being taken to revive the Kutch dairy, which would provide additional income to the farming community, and develop markets at home and abroad for the local handicrafts.

Criticising the Opposition parties and others for allegations of ``discrimination'' in distributing relief materials, he said such reports in the foreign media only lowered the country's image. Gandhigram village, which he had visited during his tour, was proof that such charges were baseless. The village had mainly Muslims and Dalits but the NGOs were providing all help without any discrimination.

The Opposition parties must give up the ``negative attitude'' and encourage the ``good work'' being done by the Government officials and NGOs.

He agreed that there should be complete transparency in dealing with funds for relief works and to ensure that the money reached the right persons. Appreciating the efforts of the NGOs, Mr. Vajpayee said Luriya village whose Dalits were convinced not to leave the village, and Indraprastha, re-located Dudhai hamlet, were examples of the ``highly praiseworthy contributions''.

News Source : The Hindu [ Lightning News ]


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