April 2006 News

Signature campaign by the quake-hit

29 April 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: When the media's focus shifts to issues of daily importance past tragedies tend to take the back seat. With an aim to bring to the fore their problems, representatives of quake-hit people have started a signature campaign in Jammu and Kashmir. Soon after the quake hit both parts of the divided Kashmir, relief operations started. But reconstruction and rehabilitation process lacked the required enthusiasm, the victims say. For mitigating the sufferings of the affected people, Mohammad Saleem Khan, member, Central Rehabilitation Coordination Committee (CRCC), sought supply of tax- free construction material besides other concessions. Interest-free loan Mr. Khan said at a press conference: '... long term, interest- free loan to the affected people to enable them to rebuild their houses is needed. Directives being communicated by the Government on dismantling standing structures need to stopped.' The CRCC was constituted by Hyderabad-based Confederation of Voluntary Association (COVA) and Volunteers Association Network (VAN) Kashmir, two organisations working in tandem for the rehabilitation of quake victims of Uri and Tangdhar. Mazhar Hussain , Director, COVA, said the Government should come forward with a proper plan for the sustenance of the rehabilitation programme meant for the quake victims. Government directives Members were critical of Government's recent directives to dismantle standing structures in the quake-hit areas. 'It would be a great loss in terms of property as nothing useful will come out after these structures are dismantled,' they said. 'Some people are planning to dismantle their houses worth Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 6 lakh because they feel that otherwise the Government will not give them the remaining Rs. 60,000,' said Syed Gazi Shah, another CRCC member. 'About 15 to 30 pert cent quake-hit victims in Uri have not received a single instalment of relief for the construction of sheds. And an additional amount of Rs. 5,000 that was promised by the Government for the speedy reconstruction of sheds is also being denied,' said Abdul Ahad, another member. The signature campaign has covered almost 31,000 people.


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