Lack of transparency affecting tsunami relief work: Tribunal
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The disaster management plans of the state governments have failed to rehabilitate the tsunami survivors and it lacks transparency, Justice H Suresh, former High Court judge and jury member of the people's tribunal, has said.
The tribunal has recommended the setting up of grievance cells in each tsunami-affected village, to ensure transparency and rationalization in rehabilitation efforts.
A comprehensive policy was the need of the hour, he pointed out. Justice Suresh, along with a panel of jurists, collected prima facie evidence from the tsunami survivors of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, at a two-day sitting of the tribunal in
While briefing newspersons about the interim report prepared by the tribunal, which will be submitted to the state governments and the Centre, Justice Suresh said that tsunami survivors were facing denial of shelters and denial of livelihood. Children were denied proper education and women, particularly widows, were not even recognized.
"Rehabilitation is anti-people. Shift gears and fast-track the process," urged Justice Suresh.
The tribunal said that lack of transparency had prevailed in the consultations while dealing with the tsunami victims. Hence it has suggested constitution of grievance cells at each tsunami affected village. "It is five months since the most devastating natural disaster has hit the shores of Indian Ocean and till now the policies adopted by the respective governments have not made any betterment for the survivors," the tribunal said.
Over 250 survivors assembled to present their grievances before the tribunal. A cross section of the survivors belonging to fishermen, dalit and adivasi communities testified before it. Testimonies concluded that utter disrespect and disregard for human lives and lack of political commitment were amplifying the miseries of the survivors.
The tribunal, after submitting the interim report to the respective state governments, is planning to approach the President and also the National Human Rights Commission.
The people's tribunal has found that compensation has been fixed artificially without any reference to the actual loss or need suffered by each individual. Some have been paid more and some less, without rationalisation of the losses suffered by different individuals. There was no justification for distribution of any amount by way of dole for three months and for stopping it abruptly. No guideline was transparent about how various ex-gratia amounts were distributed amongst victims.
There is no justification for the Government to insist that houses shall not be repaired or rebuilt where they existed earlier, on the sea-shore, the tribunal points out. It was unreasonable for the Government to insist that they should go back 200 to 500 metres away from the high-tide mark on the shore. That will certainly affect their right to livelihood, the tribunal insisted.
The panel of jurists included Dr Mohini Giri, former chairperson of National Women's Commission, S Parashuraman, director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, among others.