iconimg Monday, July 06, 2015

Prithviraj Singh, Hindustan Times
Dehradun, July 16, 2013
Solar lamps worth Rs. 35-40 lakh meant for distribution among 591 families of deceased disaster victims in Uttarakhand have gone “missing” before they could reach them.
According to sources, of the 100 solar lamps, which went missing while the consignment was en route disaster-affected Kedarnath Valley, more than 50 disappeared even before the invoice of each light costing around Rs. 3,500-4,000 had reached the relief material store at Guptakashi last month.

As if losing their loved ones was not enough, these grieving families in Ukhimath block have also been living without electricity for a month as power supply is yet to be restored. Their misery looks set to continue.

The matter came to light when disaster-affected people of nearby areas came to know about the issue and protested during assembly speaker GS Kunjwal’s visit to take stock of relief efforts.

“I myself inspected the relief material store at Guptakashi following complaints from victims that solar lamps had not been given to them,” Kunjwal said. He then called up the newly-appointed district magistrate of Rudraprayag Dilip Javalkar and directed him to provide the solar lamps to the disaster victims.

Although Javalkar assured the speaker that he would look into the matter, the lamps are yet to be found. Javalkar could not be contacted despite several attempts by this reporter. Kunjwal said he had not been informed about the steps being taken by the district administration on the matter.

A relative of the disaster victims Suraj Negi alleged that officials in the district administration were doling the solar lamps to their friends and relatives instead of distributing them among those who need them.