The Telegraph
Saturday , September 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999

Special largesse for riot-hit

- Assam Congress to ensure extra dole at camps visited by Rahul Gandhi

Guwahati, Sept. 14: The Assam PCC will extend special relief to the riot-hit on behalf of AICC secretary Rahul Gandhi. However, the nature and extent of the aid is yet to be finalised.

The Gandhi scion had visited four relief camps on a daylong trip to the affected areas on September 11, accompanied by chief minister Tarun Gogoi and Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita.

Kalita, after the visit, said Rahul had stressed the need for adequate relief and swift rehabilitation of the affected.

Two meetings were held yesterday afternoon and evening to discuss what could be provided to the riot-hit as a goodwill gesture on Rahul’s behalf.

Rahul Gandhi

Though work to provide relief has started in the four camps he visited, a formal decision is yet to be taken, as there is a feeling among a section within the PCC that it might send a wrong signal to those who might get left out from the largesse.

It is understood that besides basic clothing, soap, hair oil, baby food and combs are also in the preliminary purchase list which is likely to cost the party nearly Rs 1 crore.

There are an estimated 25,000 inmates in these four camps, of the 1,92,758 lakh inmates in 212 camps.

The highest number of camps is in Dhubri — 134 — followed by Kokrajhar, with 43.

“Since the Congress swears by inclusive growth and welfare, we need to ensure that this goodwill gesture does not seem exclusive and trigger bad press. Overall, the party and the government have been extending whatever is needed to ease the situation,” a PCC member said.

Another PCC member said the problem is not of relief.

“There is adequate relief. Even those not affected but poor have joined the camps. There has been a problem with distribution. The administration was to distribute ration in two phases — first for three days and in the second phase for two days. The inmates finished off three days’ ration in two days, creating a problem for the administration. This is being sorted out. Our main stress now really should be on rehabilitation and ensure adequate relief.”

“The Assam PCC president told The Telegraph that the state unit had met yesterday to discuss what could be done as a follow-up to Rahul’s visit. We have received several suggestions, including providing special relief to camps he visited as a goodwill gesture. But nothing has been decided as yet. We will be meeting in the next few days to finalise things,” Kalita said.

Kalita added that the issue of rehabilitation would also be discussed.

“We want secured rehabilitation. Once we finalise what needs to be done on the rehabilitation front, we will convey our suggestions to the government, which will take a final call,” he said from Delhi.