Sunday, April 22, 2012

COVER STORY: Tsunami Fund was Diverted



Tsunami Fund was Diverted

It is learnt from reliable sources that the Admn had projected and demanded an amount of about Rs 130 crores, which was insufficient for the purpose of relief or compensation. The amount reached the Islands and remained with the Admn for a long time. In the due course, when the realisation dawned that the funds are insufficient and "other important" reasons cropped up, the funds were diverted to fill the gap with due permission from the ministry.
Moreover, the Admn could have at least released first instalment of the compensation instead of diverting it and prolonging the process.  Instead, the funds were used for works in different departments. When the Ministry declared Port Blair Port Trust and later stalled it, there was shortage of funds for administrative expenses too. It is learnt that funds were diverted to that account too. The blatant lie that funds were not diverted will not find many takers.
The Admn is now in a quandary as it did not expect the farmers to hit the road with the demand for immediate release of the amount. Home spun local wisdom says that the whole process of fresh allocation and release of fund from the ministry will take its own sweet time.
In fact the farmers have witnessed not merely collapse of justice, but its systematic planned subversion. They have realised that it's been a long and blind ride since 2004. The discontent and distrust among the Islanders have started to swell and spill over on to the streets.
Is it not odd that sometime back in 2011, the Administration set off on a weird mission giving the Islanders a choice - land or money? Whereas, the Admn had miserably failed to either identify alternative land or convince Central Empowered Committee (CEC), when it came to the Islands and met the farmers that deemed forest should be de-reserved and allotted to the farmers.
It was quite easy for the Admn to shoot a letter to Delhi saying that there is no sufficient land and monetary compensation should be paid to the affected, that too without doing proper homework.

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