Loksatta calls upon government to disburse the compensation properly; condemns vote bank politics
Friday, December 18th, 2015 @ 5:34PM
It is known that government has termed the disaster brought upon by government’s negligence and ineptitude as ‘natural disaster’ and is sending out assessors to survey damage.
Survey questions include family basic details, bank account information and following 4 questions regarding damages:
- What is the type of the damaged house? Thatched/permanent
- If thatched, is it only partly damaged or fully?
- If permanent, is it only partly damaged or fully?
- Whether house was undamaged but household items were damaged due to waterlogging for more than 2 days?
It has been brought to our attention that the assessors are ignoring these questions and filling in family & bank details for all the houses. Houses that are damaged, not damaged, even in 3rd floor in an apartment receive same assessment.This is like population census and not damage assessment survey. Though direct transfer via bank will stop corruption, Loksatta believes this wholesale disbursement of funds to everyone is purely for political gains; a naked vote bank politics.
While there are people who have lost lakhs, giving Rs 5000 to everyone, including the unaffected, shows that this government hasn’t learned the lessons from this disaster.
We should not forget that this man-made disaster happened only because of vote bank politics.
Loksatta urges government to reassess the damages incurred by everyone honestly.
Loksatta demands that urban middle class families be given Rs 50,000 as compensation and another Rs 50,000 as interest free loan. Similarly urban poor must be given Rs 20,000 per family. This compensation is not based on compassionate grounds but as a compensation for the failure of the government in its responsibility.
Loksatta reiterates its earlier demand that Chennai corporation return the last five years’ property tax to people as compensation.
As per records Chennai corporation has allotted Rs 5000 crore for storm drains and Mayor has announced that 93% work has been completed. After the floods it is clear that only our tax money has gone down the drain.
Failure of Chief Minister
The government has failed to take early warnings on heavy rain seriously. Government has failed to communicate opening of lake gates to people living near the rivers Adayar & Koovam. Government alone is responsible for the deaths due to flood.
On one side, we talk about ‘Digital India’ and on the other side, we do not give simple communication to the Public which is very ironical.
Loksatta pointed out after first rains that last minute release of 18.000 cusecs from lake Chembarambakkam resulted in heavy losses. Government hasn’t learned lessons from that instance. It is well known that PWD engineers were waiting for approval from Chief Secretary who in turn was waiting for CM during Nov 26-29. The Govt failed to realize the impact when it opened up 18,000 cusecs and still opened 29,000 cusecs at the last minute only because we have an CM who failed her duty.
Best example for this is TN government’s public release on 14-12-2015 that shows her centralization of power where she says ‘I ordered’.
Hence CM Jayalalitha herself is responsible for the deaths and destruction of property and livelihood due to mishandling of situation. Loksatta demands her immediate resignation.
Compensation for unorganised sector
Unorganised sector entrepreneurs like bunk shops, ironing carts etc also have suffered heavy losses. They must be given compensation and interest free loans to help rebuild their lives. For people who have a TIN Number, the losses could be calculated based on the taxes. For people who do not have TIN, Loksatta demands compensation of 20,000 rs to each establishment.
Compensation for industries
Industries have suffered heavy losses due to flood water damaging equipments etc. Govt must help them obtain insurance money by expediting the process and giving them ‘flood damage certificates’ etc and by announcing a moratorium on loans for 6 months.
Industries without insurance must be given low interest loans. Government should bear 50% of the interest burden.
Encroachments of water bodies
Lakes being encroached and unrestrained real estates over water bodies are major reasons for the floods. This encroachments lead to a situation where we have floods during rainy season and water scarcity during summer. Pallikaranai marshlands, Maduravoyal lake and other water bodies were encroached and this could not be controlled because of the lack of political will. It is high time that the encroachments are controlled and existing ones are removed with proper ‘planning’. Even today the encroachments in Kanchipuram are removed but we must not forget that it is the same Govt which encouraged them to encroach. When there are measures taken to displace them, the Govt doesn’t care about quality Eduaction, Healthcare and proper livelihood for these people.
On looking deep, it is seen that most of the women in households that live on lake-occupied houses work as domestic help. The only way to stop them from occupying lakes is to provide them with low rent housing in middle class areas where they go to work.
TASMAC shops that target the Urban Poor
Loksatta actively engaged in relief work in poor areas and noticed that TASMAC shops are dime a dozen around the slums. Loksatta’s rigorous liquor control policy prescribes that alcohol must be insulated from poor people. But TN govt specifically targets poor and robs them of their earnings. Loksatta demands closure of these shops immediately.
At the same time, one must not fail to notice this shameless act of precautionary measure taken by Govt in filling up the stocks in TASMAC before rains.
Property tax should be returned
Honest citizens have paid their property tax only in the belief that the government will make use of the tax money in a proper manner and will provide them the required civic amenities. However 75% of the total 200 wards in Chennai have been affected by the rain which is due to the failure of the Chennai Corporation and Tamil Nadu government. Loksatta party demands that the property tax collected in the last 5 years should be returned to the people as a penalty for not fulfilling its duty.
TN Government’s poor Co-ordination with Other Agencies
TN govt has failed to properly coordinate and provide info for national disaster relief teams, army etc. On Dec 5th, 100 Army personnel were kept without any work. Instead ADMK cadre & govt concentrated on getting publicity and stopping volunteers from relief works. Loksatta volunteer were stopped from working in areas like Paadikuppam, Manimangalam, and Vyasarpadi to name a few.
Youth and volunteering
With the help of social media youngsters and NGOs have done a commendable job. People’s needs, from food, and medicines to sanitary napkins and underwear, this force mobilised everything to needy. Loksatta takes pride in this team effort and it’s own contribution to this.
But Loksatta believes this is not enough. The reason for the current crisis is that most good people have abandoned politics. If this should not be repeated it is essential that we rescue politics from the current crop of criminals and idiots. Loksatta calls upon youngsters to participate in good politics in large numbers. That will be the real solution.