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The Forgotten: Victims united in suffering, neglect

I had written earlier about how the compensation announced for Gujarat's riot victims is inadequate. In a follow-up to that story, The Indian Express has highlighted another issue which is unresolved. Many of the riot victims are still homeless, living in slums and barely earning a living. This is yet another reason why the compensation is insufficient to help the victims, if that is what its purpose is.

Further, of the 4 lakh rupees compensation announced, effectively only Rs 50,000 is being offered to them for building houses. What does the government expect them to do with that money? I doubt if even a single-room house would be available at that rate in Ahmedabad. And considering that a lot of these people lost the houses they must have built over their lifetimes, this is a slap on their face. Many were even deprived of their shops and business outlets.

It would have been better to have at least provided the displaced people with respectable accomodation than to do what they are doing now. How much of the earmarked cash will actually reach the victims is another question mark.

Incidentally, the victims of the Kashmir earthquake of 2005 are suffering the same fate. Many of them lost their homes and are still living in rehabilitation camps (see BBC report). For that matter, the victims of the 2004 tsunami calamity are still awaiting the return to normalcy, but we seem to have conveniently forgotten them (see blog and The Guardian report)

We may boast of riding the waves of success in the international markets, but when it comes to aiding our victimised citizens, India is still a Third World country. And until we get rid of these inefficiencies, this undesirable phrase will continue to trail us.
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3 comments

Hill Goat said...

I won't rattle here about the done-to-death govt apathy about this thing, that thing, blah blah. Isnt this an oft-repeated story? The difference lies with 'people'. Kashmiris over the decades of a tragic strife have either become anti-state or fatalists dependent on bowl-money. Their breast-beating clips make me angrier with them, not with the state. Punjab has felt the militancy too but they never let their entrepreneur spirit get down. Quakes have jolted Bhuj and Latur more fiercely than any other part of South asia but look the way marathi and gujarati people, with entrepreneur souls, have put it all behind. State grants were there and so was pilferage but they did it, inspite of that. And though there is a chauvinistic tinge in most marathis and gujaratis as a people, it is beyond the religious line. Remember the 45-year-old muslim in Nasik, who refused the govt grant of Rs 5 lakh for his son killed in a blast outside a mosque.
After 60 years of 'jheloing' one apathetic govt after other, 'People' shouldn't be too dependent on state in India.
On a lighter note, go Ambani way, guru...

karim said...

Welcome to reality!

Vishwas said...

In Kashmir, local level corruption is also incredibly high, something the central government can take only part of the blame for. The state has the highest per capita incomes, lowest taxation levels and biggest per capita subsidy share... Serious problem. perhaps nothing will work till the politics sorts itself out.

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