Maharashtra may make insurance must for travellers

With lessons learnt from the rain -ravaged Uttarakhand where government struggled to locate pilgrims of the state, Maharashtra is considering a proposal to make it mandatory for people travelling out of state to get their travel plans registered and secure travel insurance.

Minister of state for Relief and Rehabilitation Suresh Dhas told PTI that he had discussed the proposal with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and a draft bill to this effect is likely to be introduced in the Monsoon session starting later this month.

Dhas, who had supervised the relief operations for Maharashtra pilgrims stuck in Uttarakhand for ten days, said that the state encountered difficulties in ascertaining the exact number of people from the state visiting Uttarakhand and their location.

Despite presence of the camp office to help the stranded, there were many people who travelled back on their own without informing that they were safe, Dhas said.

"In times of disaster like this, it is a common refrain to say the government did nothing for us... but what will the government do if you have not informed the local authorities about your travel plans," the minister pointed out.

The need of the hour is to put in place a mechanism wherein citizens travelling out of state should inform local authorities (tehsil office) about their travel plans.

Similarly, travel insurance should also be made compulsory, he said.

"In times of disaster like this, the kith and kin of the deceased and missing persons suffer the most and government is not able to help them," Dhas said.

The minister said the government has instructed tehsildars to conduct panchnamas of those who went missing in the Uttarakhand tragedy to finalise list.

"After the list is confirmed, the Cabinet will have to take a decision on the compensation to be provided to their families," he said.

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