Centre provides Rs 70.55 cr ex-gratia to victims of Gujarat riot

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New Delhi, Sept 20 (UNI) Obviously with an eye on the coming assembly elections in Gujarat, the UPA Government has offered additional relief bonanza of Rs 70.55 crore to the victims of the post-Godhra communal violence in the state.

In case of 1,169 deaths caused during the riots following Godhra carnage, an ex-gratia assistance of Rs.3.5 lakh would be paid. The amount would be in addition to the assistance already given by the State Government to the victims of the riot which broke out following a fire in the Sabarmati Express near Godhra that claimed 59 lives on February 27, 2002, home ministry sources said today.

To 2,548 people who suffered injuries, an ex-gratia assistance of Rs.1.25 lakh each would be paid minus the assistance given by the State Government. The entire expenditure on payment of ex-gratia in case of death and injury would be borne by the Central Government.

Only those who received ex-gratia earlier will be eligible for the enhanced additional ex-gratia amount. However, it may also cover those who died or suffered injuries but who have not received any assistance from the state governemnt. It would also cover those who were affected just before or as a consequence of the riots.

In a letter sent last week, the union Home Ministry has asked the state Government to ensure that the claims are settled and the utilisation certificates are sent to it within 45 days.

All the claims will be verified by the local administration or agency of the State Government. The amount has been made available by the centre in addition to Rs 155 crore given to the state in 2002 immediately after the riots. However, at that time the state government had utilised only Rs 136 crore and returned Rs 19 crore to the centre.

Though the union cabinet had approved the package of Rs 106 for the Gujarat riot victims in March, 2007, the delay in the disbursal has occurred as a high level committee of the ministry, which also had state government representative, was finalising the modelaties for the disbursal of the compensation which would be on the lines of the 1984 Anti-Sikh riot relief, the sources said.

They said that the Ministry has also asked the state government to identify and make a list of uninsured commercial and residential properties which were destroyed in the riot, so that the centre could compensate their owners.

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