Monetary relief would be provided Tuesday onwards to the families of those missing after the recent floods and landslips in the State, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said on Monday. At present, 5,748 people, including 924 people from Uttarakhand, are missing.
“We will give Rs. 5 lakh to the families of the missing. This amount is to give them monetary relief. It should not be considered as compensation because the search operations will continue even after the amount is paid.”
He refused to declare those missing as dead and said death certificate would not be issued for them. Instead, an affidavit and an indemnity bond will be issued for such people. When a missing person is found, the monetary relief would have to be returned back to the government. But no interest would be charged, Mr. Bahuguna said.
The Rs. 5 lakh relief amount includes Rs. 2 lakh from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. The Uttarakhand government will give Rs. 1.5 lakh “monetary relief” to the kin of the missing natives of the State. But this amount might be revised in case other States are found giving a bigger amount, the Chief Minister said. The State government will open Fixed Deposit (FD) accounts for the minors orphaned during the disaster.“The State government,” Mr. Bahuguna said, “will take the responsibility of the upbringing of these orphans.”
However, even a month after the disaster, there are confusions regarding the rescued and the missing. The lists uploaded online have mentioned names of several of the missing as ‘rescued’. Thus, there is a high probability that in the coming days the number of missing people may rise from the current figure of 5,748.
A Cabinet Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been formed to look into the matters of reconstruction and rehabilitation in the State. Mr. Bahuguna, who is a member of this committee, said: “Reconstruction in the monsoon-ravaged areas in the State will take place only after seeking suggestions from the environment experts, the temple committees, and other technical experts.”
Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said the Committee would provide a permanent solution to the State’s problems and would revive tourism. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has been tasked with reconstructing roads by September 30, after which people can visit the shrines of Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
At present, 6 choppers are stationed at Garud Chatti in Rudraprayag district. But, the bad weather has made it impossible for these choppers to fly to Kedarnath to deliver the machines, delivered by the National Disaster Response Force, needed to recover the bodies buried under debris. Teams comprising NDRF personnel and doctors are already stationed in Guptkashi and Garud Chatti, but continuous rain is preventing them from entering the interior areas.