Mumbai: Compensation too little, say activists
Have blamed state govt for unsatisfactory revision of compensation rates; called for long-term comprehensive policies instead
The latest Government Resolution regarding compensation offered by the state government to flood-affected people across the state has irked many activists and NGOs, who say that the amount is too little for affected families even if it is higher than what was fixed in 2015. The GR dated August 8 stated that in case of loss of clothing and utensils/household goods for families whose houses have been washed away/fully-damaged/severely inundated for more than two days due to a natural calamity, a compensation of R7,500 per family (Rs 2,500 from State Disaster Relief Fund and R5,000 from state government relief fund) in the cities and in rural regions, the compensation is R5,000 (R2,500 each from SDRF and State Relief fund) will be paid.
For the same damage, the earlier GR dated May 13, 2015, was providing compensation of R1,800 per family for the loss of clothing and R2,000 per family for the loss of utensils and household goods. Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner (RTI), said, "The financial aid of R7,500 per affected family is too less. Our problem is knee jerk reactions instead of coming out with comprehensive long-term policies which will be more useful." Godfrey Pimenta, trustee of Watchdog foundation, too said that there was "no logic" in the manner in which the ex-gratia payment is done by revenue officials to disaster-affected families. "This is like rubbing salt on their wounds. We need to frame long-term policies and find better solutions to tackle nature's fury." Following criticism, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday evening made an announcement that he will be increasing the ex-gratia amount to R10,000 for rural regions and R15,000 for city but no notification to this effect has been issued yet.
While the state administration and the rescue team from NDRF, Navy, Army and Air force have managed to move over 2.50 lakh flood-affected people to safe locations, as many as 29 people have lost their lives in the flood (as of August 10) that has devastated lives in Kolhapur and Sangli districts of Maharashtra. According to senior bureaucrats, "The flood has impacted 12 tehsils and 329 villages in Kolhapur and Sangli districts — eight teshils (239 villages) in Kolhapur and four tehsils (90 villages) in Sangli." "We have increased the amount in this GR as compared to that of May 2015," a senior government official told mid-day. The flood situation in Sangli and Kolhapur is slowly improving, an officer from Mantralaya said, adding, "We are hopeful the water level would recede further if the weather remains favourable. We have already directed collectors across the state to provide fresh water tankers not only in the drought-affected areas but also in the flood-affected areas since they need potable water."
Need for long-term planning
Pimenta said, "Studies in global warming have stated that extreme rainfall events are likely to become more frequent in the future. The third assessment report of the inter-governmental panel on climate change has concluded that the amplitude and frequency of extreme precipitation events is very likely to increase over many areas." Global climate researchers are suggesting that any future warming may give more rains to India. Scientists are also warning about the rise in sea levels from increased melting of snow. "Hence the planning of a coastal city like Mumbai — which has developed mostly on flat reclaimed lands will have to be very carefully evaluated in terms of risks to the population from inadequate carrying capacities of the stream channels," Pimenta added.
Compensation amount per family for loss of clothing and utensils/household goods in cities
Compensation amount per family for loss of clothing and utensils/household goods in rural regions
Compensation amount each family got for loss of clothing and utensils/household goods in cities in 2015
Compensation as per GR dated May 13, 2015
Ex-gratia payment to families of deceased persons: R4 lakh per deceased person
Ex-gratia payment for loss of a limb or eyes: R59,100 per person when disability is between 40 to 60 per cent and R2 lakh per person, when the disability is more than 60 per cent
Grievous injury needing hospitalisation: R12,700 per person requiring hospitalisation for more than a week and R4,300 per person requiring hospitalisation for less than a week
For families whose livelihood is seriously affected: R60 per adult and R45 per child not housed in relief camps
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