The Kedar valley’s disaster victims are on the boil over compensation money.
Most of the victims, especially business people, allege that many who were not even hit by the disaster or marginally hit walked away with huge compensation with the connivance of the Uttarakhand officials while the claims of deserving victims were overlooked or underestimated.
During the flash floods of 2013, the swollen Mandakini River washed away many houses, fields and business establishments from Kedarnath town to Tilwara near Augustyamuni in Rudraprayag.
Though the government compensated the loss of buildings and fields according to the existing norms, there was dissatisfaction among the business class over lack of compensation for goods that were washed away along with buildings.
When the demand for compensation for goods and infrastructure started getting louder, the state government passed an order on March 4, 2014 to form the joint Vyapar Sangh (association of traders) in Kedar area for self-assessment of loss of goods and infrastructure.
The names of 2,909 businessmen were forwarded to the government by the Vyapar Sangh and compensation worth Rs 46 crore was dispersed among them. However, self-assessment led to fraud entries and misappropriation of fund. Compensation were claimed for establishments that didn’t exist or that were not harmed in the flash floods.
Rajesh Bagwari, one of the victims of 2013 disaster, who runs a shop at Vijaynagar near Augustyamuni said the genuine victims were not fairly compensated while the fraud claimants got away with huge compensations.
“Since the cabinet has taken the decision, the investigation seems to be closed. I am left with no other option but to move the court against it,” he said.
Raghav Langer, the District Magistrate of Rudraprayag, said after he received complaints of fraud claims, he conducted an inquiry and identified 30 such cases.
The list was forwarded to the government for action but no government order has been received in this regard so far, he said.