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Open letter to PM                                                                           >>>to index page

Rajya Sabha MP wants to contribute Rs. 1 crore towards Gujarat relief

June 16, 2002
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Prime Minister of India
New Delhi.

Dear Prime Minister
Having visited Gujarat and being in touch with the distressing situation there, I intend to contribute a sum of Rs. 1 crore from my allocation under "Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme" (MPLADS) for relief and rehabilitation of the victims of the recent communal violence in that state. I may be permitted to do so.

Under MPLADS every MP is entitled to an allocation of Rs. 2 crore per year for development works in his constituency or state. However, the Rules were relaxed to permit allocation by MPs under MPLADS for the victims of the Gujarat earthquake last year and of the Orissa cyclone in the year before. Similar relaxation may now be permitted for the benefit of the victims of the recent Gujarat holocaust.

If the rules are relaxed most MPs would like to utilise a substantial part of their allocation under MPLADS for this noble purpose. A contribution by a large number of Parliamentarians will motivate the people of the country to also contribute for this worthy cause.

I also urge you to kindly issue an appeal to all our countrymen to donate generously for this cause on the same lines of the appeals issued by you at the time of the Gujarat earthquake and the Orissa cyclone.

The above becomes necessary since the state government has not yet taken effective steps in this matter. The recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission including those relating to relief and rehabilitation are not being implemented effectively.

May I, therefore, request you to direct the state government to take the following measures urgently:

i) The compensation for the damaged/burnt/destroyed houses should be paid as per the norms adopted for the earthquake victims;

ii) The compensation for Ghat Vakhri (compensation for burnt/looted household articles) should be a minimum of Rs.20,000.

iii) Immediate allotment of house sites to enable the victims to relocate themselves with honour and dignity.

iv) Involving housing finance institutions like HUDCO, NHB, CANFIN Homes, LIC etc. to advance loans liberally with minimum paperwork and at nominal interest rates. The repayment period should be spread over a period of 20 years and it should begin after three years from the date of construction of the house.

With personal regards,

EDUARDO FALEIRO

MP, Rajya Sabha

Editors: As we go to press, Faleiro who has just returned from a tour to Turkey, told CC that all that he has so far got from the PMO in response to his letter is a formal acknowledgement. Meanwhile, a number of party leaders and MPs whom CC spoke to supported Faleiroís initiative, especially in view of the fact that neither the governments in New Delhi and Gujarat, nor India Inc. have been particularly forthcoming in providing succour to the survivors of the genocide in Gujarat. Many felt that a substantial contribution from parliamentarians, would provide the badly needed emotional balm, apart from relief and rehabilitation in physical terms.

"Itís a very good idea and we should all support it," said the independent Rajya Sabha MP, Kuldip Nayar, adding that such a step would be a most welcome departure in parliament history. The problem in Gujarat is so colossal that what the government has done so far is a mere drop in the ocean, he said. "I am sure a lot of MPs will like to contribute to this effort once a decision is taken in this regard," he added. Stating that not all MPs might be willing to contribute Rs 1 crore out of the funds at their disposal, even Rs. 10 lakh per MP (5 per cent of the funds at their disposal), the contribution from 850 MPs from the two houses could add up to a substantial Rs. 85 crore.

"The BJP will not be enthusiastic about such and idea. It could work only if party leaders take it up seriously with the government," said an MP from the Samajwadi Party, adding that he would gladly push the case within his own party if the Congress top brass took a lead in the matter.

"It is definitely a good idea and we will certainly pursue the matter," Sitaram Yechuri, CPI(M) politburo member told CC when contacted for his response.

Meanwhile, not content with a mere acknowledgement of his earlier letter to the PM, Faleiro intends to follow up his earlier letter with a fresh missive arguing that his suggestion should be acted upon especially considering that a substantial amount of the MPLADS funds remains unutilised by many MPs.

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