CENTRE HAS set a 45-day deadline for the Gujarat government to complete disbursal of the Rs 70.55-crore special relief package to families of over 3,000 victims of the post-Godhra communal riots in the state.
“The Centre has asked the state government to ensure that the claims are settled and the utilisation certificates are sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs within 45 days,” Home Ministry spokesman Onkar Kedia said, referring to the letter sent by the ministry last week. The ministry wants to wrap up implementation of the first component of the relief package approved by the Cabinet ahead of elections to the Gujarat assembly in December this year.
“I request the state government to disburse the amount made available by the Centre at the earliest,” a Press Trust of India report quoted Home Minister Shivraj Patil as saying on Thursday. Patil added that the ministry was also working on other aspects of the comprehensive relief and rehabilitation package approved by the Cabinet for the riot victims in March this year.
A senior Home Ministry official said the state government had also been told to identify uninsured commercial and residential properties that were damaged during the violence. The state would have to submit this list to the Centre so that it could pay compensation as part of the central special package.
The next of kin of the 1,169 people who died in the riots would receive an additional ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh and the 2,548 injured, Rs 1.25 lakh minus the assistance given by the state government. The amount of the compensation is the same as what has been given to victims of the 1984 Delhi Sikh riots.
The Centre had earlier promised to identify the riot victims who may have been denied relief by the Narendra Modi government, but failed to do so.
“It will be a very difficult to identify the genuine victims at this late stage,” a ministry official said, adding that it was in view of this practical problem that when the Centre first came up with a special package for victims of the anti-Sikh riots, they stuck to victims already identified by the local administration.