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Pact push to hill state rehab

Tata Relief Committee, which carried out extensive rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, has now floated a long-term rehabilitation plan for displaced villagers.

On Thursday evening, the committee and Uttarakhand government signed an MoU for carrying out community rehabilitation and reconstruction, six months after flash floods wreaked havoc in the hill state claiming hundreds of lives and rendering thousands homeless. Uttarakhand additional chief secretary Rakesh Sharma and Tata Relief Committee’s vice-chairman Sunil Bhaskaran signed the MoU in Dehradun. Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and chief secretary Subhash Kumar were present on the occasion.

Bhaskaran, also deputy vice-president (corporate services) of Tata Steel, said that even before the MoU was signed, Tata Group was among the early respondents to the catastrophe and had carried out a dedicated rehabilitation programme in Uttarakhand.

The first phase of the programme focused on relief and medical assistance and over 10,000 beneficiaries had been covered till date across Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar and Chamoli districts.

“A comprehensive impact assessment survey was also completed through Tata Institute of Social Sciences covering around 90 villages across the state,” Bhaskaran added.

According to him, the subsequent phase will now concentrate on channelling resources towards long-term rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas. The aid will comprise reconstruction of damaged structures, vocational training programmes as well as establishment of enterprise-based livelihood.

Tata Relief Committee programme leader Sourav Roy said over phone from Uttarakhand that planning for long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation was almost over and things would gain momentum with signing of the MoU.

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