Special Correspondent

Financial and policy constraints cited

Greater gender sensitivity called for in relief work

Bangalore: The Karnataka Legal Services Authority has suggested that a separate budget and a mechanism be put in place to implement the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, so that States are better prepared for eventualities like the recent floods in north Karnataka.

Justice V. Gopala Gowda said this at a convergence meeting organised by the authority between Government officials, representatives of non-governmental organisations and activist groups from flood-hit areas to review relief work and debate corrective measures here on Tuesday. Presenting an overview, S.M. Jaamdar, Nodal Officer on Flood Relief, said that work done so far was “85 to 90 per cent satisfactory”. He described the financial and policy constraints under which relief and rehabilitation work was being undertaken. Any increase in the quantum of relief, Mr. Jaamdar said, could be done only if the existing policy framework and the financial allocation were dramatically altered.

Report awaited

The Centre’s team that visited flood-hit areas was in the process of compiling a report and funds from National Calamity Contingency Fund would be released only after it was submitted, he said. K. Neela, State president of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, said that the extent of damage would have been less if desilting work had been undertaken in tanks, lakes and canals under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act. She said that the parameters of damage while undertaking surveys were faulty, leaving sections like tenant farmers without any compensation.

Ms. Neela said that relief work often failed to take into account the inconveniences of women, resulting in relief camps having no basic amenities like toilets. She said that greater gender sensitivity was called for in relief work.

Basavaraj Kauthal and M. Venkataswamy drew the attention of the authority to caste discrimination in rehabilitation work, citing cases.

Representatives of farmers’ organisations, including Kodihalli Chandrasekhar of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, raised issues on inadequate compensation to crop losses.