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May 19, 2001 - May 19, 2001

Fernandes accuses Gujarat govt. of "criminal negligence" in quake relief Saturday, May 19, 2001

By Thakor Patel, India Abroad News Service

Bhuj (Gujarat), May 18 - Former defense minister and Samata Party leader George Fernandes has accused the Gujarat government of "criminal negligence" in providing relief and rehabilitation to the state's quake-ravaged areas, especially the Kutch region.

"I am pained and distressed at the insensitivity shown by the state administration towards the suffering of half-a-million people," Fernandes said Friday after a three-day tour of the regions affected by the killer quake January 26.

"The situation in Kutch is beyond my imagination. Forget the permanent houses promised by the state government after the quake, the affected people are yet to get temporary shelters," Fernandes tolf IANS. This is his third visit to Gujarat after the quake.

Apart from Kutch, Fernandes also visited the areas of Bhuj, Rapar, Anjar, Bhachau, Khavda and Loria.

Fernandes said he would meet Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee after his return to New Delhi and apprise him of the "inhuman" approach adopted by the state government in handling the rehabilitation.

He also said the state government had failed in its duty, while numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had done exemplary relief work.

"This tour has opened my eyes. I am an eyewitness to the criminal negligence shown by the government in Kutch. I shudder to think what will happen once the monsoon sets in with hundreds of people still living under the open sky."

He also said with various international bodies donating liberally there was no lack of money or materials, but they haven't been implemented properly. "I fail to understand what is preventing the state administration in implementing various relief packages."

"The saddest part of the natural calamity is that nothing has changed in the last three months. The government machinery is moving at snail's pace, totally unconcerned about the human tragedy and suffering of the poor people."

Giving the example of Loria village, bordering Pakistan, Fernandes lamented that not a single minister or government officer had visited the devastated village after the quake.

But added "the people of this villages have helped themselves in reconstructing their houses without bothering for government assistance or guidance."

Samata Party president Jaya Jaitely, the party's Gujarat chief Pravinsinhji Jadeja and an NGO representative Mike Waghela accompanied Fernandes during his trip.

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


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Fernandes accuses Gujarat govt. of "criminal negligence" in quake relief Saturday, May 19, 2001

By Thakor Patel, India Abroad News Service

Bhuj (Gujarat), May 18 - Former defense minister and Samata Party leader George Fernandes has accused the Gujarat government of "criminal negligence" in providing relief and rehabilitation to the state's quake-ravaged areas, especially the Kutch region.

"I am pained and distressed at the insensitivity shown by the state administration towards the suffering of half-a-million people," Fernandes said Friday after a three-day tour of the regions affected by the killer quake January 26.

"The situation in Kutch is beyond my imagination. Forget the permanent houses promised by the state government after the quake, the affected people are yet to get temporary shelters," Fernandes tolf IANS. This is his third visit to Gujarat after the quake.

Apart from Kutch, Fernandes also visited the areas of Bhuj, Rapar, Anjar, Bhachau, Khavda and Loria.

Fernandes said he would meet Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee after his return to New Delhi and apprise him of the "inhuman" approach adopted by the state government in handling the rehabilitation.

He also said the state government had failed in its duty, while numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had done exemplary relief work.

"This tour has opened my eyes. I am an eyewitness to the criminal negligence shown by the government in Kutch. I shudder to think what will happen once the monsoon sets in with hundreds of people still living under the open sky."

He also said with various international bodies donating liberally there was no lack of money or materials, but they haven't been implemented properly. "I fail to understand what is preventing the state administration in implementing various relief packages."

"The saddest part of the natural calamity is that nothing has changed in the last three months. The government machinery is moving at snail's pace, totally unconcerned about the human tragedy and suffering of the poor people."

Giving the example of Loria village, bordering Pakistan, Fernandes lamented that not a single minister or government officer had visited the devastated village after the quake.

But added "the people of this villages have helped themselves in reconstructing their houses without bothering for government assistance or guidance."

Samata Party president Jaya Jaitely, the party's Gujarat chief Pravinsinhji Jadeja and an NGO representative Mike Waghela accompanied Fernandes during his trip.

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


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'Most quake-orphaned children living with relatives' Saturday, May 19, 2001

GANDHINAGAR, MAY 18. The devastating earthquake that rocked Kutch and other parts of Gujarat on January 26 has orphaned 317 children while 676 others lost either of their parents. Some 100 children were found to have been disabled.
The State Government stated on Wednesday that all but five of the orphaned children were living with their relatives, thus putting an end to the requests for adoption of earthquake- orphaned children by the non-government organisations or the childless couples. The remaining five were in ``institutional care,'' a spokesman said.

``If childless couples are keen on adoption, they can pick one from the 3,000-odd children we have in our orphanages and remand homes. But giving earthquake-orphaned children for adoption outside is virtually ruled out,'' the Social Welfare Department Secretary, Mr. R.M. Patel, said.

It took nearly three-and a-half months for the Directorate of Social Defence to complete the survey of orphaned children in the 17 earthquake-hit taluks in cooperation with various NGOs. Arrangements have been made for collecting photographs of the children and their custodians to prevent unauthorised transfer or their abuse once the compensation amounts are disbursed. The Government with the help of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), has established a surveillance mechanism to verify whether the orphaned children were being taken care of properly.

To provide necessary support and immediate shelter to those in need, the Union Women and Child Development Ministry has sanctioned 50 short-stay homes, 20 working women's hostels and some 200 creches in the quake-affected areas. Also, five ``child lines'' to help the needy were opened in Bhuj, Anjar, Bhachau, Rapar and Gandhidham, the five worst-hit towns in Kutch district. The project is being implemented by the Janpath Initiative, an Ahmedabad-based umbrella organisation of a group of NGOs, is supported by the Child Line Foundation, Mumbai, and funded by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has also sanctioned `Ashray Griha' for orphans and widows through the voluntary organisations, Action Aid and CRY. They have started Sneha Samudaya Centres at various areas to provide love and care for the children and others.

The State Government has extended the scheme of `Foster Parents', which was in force only in six municipal corporation areas, to provide financial support to foster parents of the orphaned children. The amount of assistance has also been raised from Rs. 350 to Rs. 500 per month.

The Government also proposes to set up a Rs. 15 crore fund for the welfare of orphans, widows and the aged, which would be managed by reputed NGOs and U.N. agencies, besides the State and the Central governments.

News Source : The HINDU


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'Most quake-orphaned children living with relatives' Saturday, May 19, 2001

GANDHINAGAR, MAY 18. The devastating earthquake that rocked Kutch and other parts of Gujarat on January 26 has orphaned 317 children while 676 others lost either of their parents. Some 100 children were found to have been disabled.
The State Government stated on Wednesday that all but five of the orphaned children were living with their relatives, thus putting an end to the requests for adoption of earthquake- orphaned children by the non-government organisations or the childless couples. The remaining five were in ``institutional care,'' a spokesman said.

``If childless couples are keen on adoption, they can pick one from the 3,000-odd children we have in our orphanages and remand homes. But giving earthquake-orphaned children for adoption outside is virtually ruled out,'' the Social Welfare Department Secretary, Mr. R.M. Patel, said.

It took nearly three-and a-half months for the Directorate of Social Defence to complete the survey of orphaned children in the 17 earthquake-hit taluks in cooperation with various NGOs. Arrangements have been made for collecting photographs of the children and their custodians to prevent unauthorised transfer or their abuse once the compensation amounts are disbursed. The Government with the help of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), has established a surveillance mechanism to verify whether the orphaned children were being taken care of properly.

To provide necessary support and immediate shelter to those in need, the Union Women and Child Development Ministry has sanctioned 50 short-stay homes, 20 working women's hostels and some 200 creches in the quake-affected areas. Also, five ``child lines'' to help the needy were opened in Bhuj, Anjar, Bhachau, Rapar and Gandhidham, the five worst-hit towns in Kutch district. The project is being implemented by the Janpath Initiative, an Ahmedabad-based umbrella organisation of a group of NGOs, is supported by the Child Line Foundation, Mumbai, and funded by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has also sanctioned `Ashray Griha' for orphans and widows through the voluntary organisations, Action Aid and CRY. They have started Sneha Samudaya Centres at various areas to provide love and care for the children and others.

The State Government has extended the scheme of `Foster Parents', which was in force only in six municipal corporation areas, to provide financial support to foster parents of the orphaned children. The amount of assistance has also been raised from Rs. 350 to Rs. 500 per month.

The Government also proposes to set up a Rs. 15 crore fund for the welfare of orphans, widows and the aged, which would be managed by reputed NGOs and U.N. agencies, besides the State and the Central governments.

News Source : The HINDU


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Amdavadis sing a song to relief from skies Saturday, May 19, 2001

Ahmedabad May 18: Amdavadis breathed a sigh of relief as showers lashed the city on Friday evening. The maximum temperature, which used to be between 42 to 45 degrees Celsius, dropped drastically to 39 due to the unprecedented showers.

People came out in the streets to wet themselves and enjoy the unexpected bonus. Dark clouds and heavy lightning were evident from the evening, which gave clear indication of the rains.

Director of meteorological department, Mr R K Kankane, said that this is the usual phenomenon of pre-monsoon thunderstorm in Gujarat. “This is the result of intense heating and creation of moisture in the atmosphere,” he added.

He said Gujarat experiences two to three such pre-monsoon thunderstorms every year. MET has forecast rains or thunderstorms at isolated places over Gujarat , Saurashtra and Diu, Daman and Dadra Nagar Haveli in the next 24 hours.

Though most people reveled in the showers, the scooterists were affected the most as more than half-a-dozen of them slipped on the IIM road. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation registered a complaint of the fall of a tree in the Sabarmati area.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]


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