Relief stuck in godowns
It is learnt that out of the 357 cartons of medicines from Ahmedabad, only five reached Car Nicobar.india Updated: Dec 26, 2005 02:40 IST
The dance of death has stopped but the ghosts of a tragedy still haunt—in many ways. In December 2004, they faced the tsunami. A year on, they face an ongoing tiff between the local administration and the armed forces. And the islanders are equally helpless.
For about 10,000 people who lost their homes in the worst-hit Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a roof over their heads is a distant dream. "We are the victims of a tussle between the local administration and the armed forces. The army wants some more land and the administration is in no mood to give it. Their fight has stalled several projects, including the construction of about 5,672 houses in the island," says an islander.
The funds were there. More than Rs 821 crore was sanctioned by the Centre and other organisations. But where has the money gone? "It is there and we are utilising it for the rehabilitation work. We managed to spend the maximum amount of money and the rest we gave back to the Centre because we could not spent the money before March 31, 2005," said additional district magistrate Niraj Bharti.
Major Kailash Nagarajan, who has been supervising work in Car Nicobar, says reconstruction of the islands will take about 10 more years.
There is no change in the state of the people. This year too half-naked survivors were seen sitting under trees. At Joginder Nagar, half-clad children came up to us, begging for food. An inquiry has revealed that not a single islander got ration in the past couple of months. "We are depending on coconuts and fruits. Sometimes NGOs give us food," said Murgappa, a resident.
It is learnt that out of the 357 cartons of medicines from Ahmedabad, only five reached Car Nicobar. Out of more than 20,000 blankets, only 1,500 were distributed. But relief materials are dumped in Port Blair’s godowns.