//Gujarat winds up schemes for quake-hit

Gujarat winds up schemes for quake-hit

AHMEDABAD — Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been pestering federal government for one-year extension of the tax holiday for earthquake-ravaged Kutch district of Gujarat but his own BJP administration has wrapped up several beneficiary schemes for those wrecked by the killer temblor on January 26, 2001.

Five years after Gujarat’s worst natural calamity, orders have been issued to all district industries centres not to accept any applications from artisans for benefits under the revolving fund as well as schemes for workers engaged in handlooms, handicraft and village industries development.

Even all pending cases will be considered as rejected and the artisans will no more be provided makeshift workshades or toolkits as was being done since the devastating shaker killed more than 12,000 people and rendered millions homeless.

Similarly, the state government has failed to start the disaster management course in its largest university, the Gujarat University here. The then vice-chancellor Naresh Ved had announced plans for this and had even readied the syllabus for the same within 72 hours but before it could be implemented, the V-C was transferred out of the city and the blue-print of the course lessons was consigned to the dustbin.

Even his enthusiastic successor, Dr A.U. Patel, had stressed the urgent need for the disaster management course to prepare an army of experts trained in the various techniques of tackling an earthquake that hit the state now and then.

Unfortunately, he also retired last week and admitted that he was clueless about the essential course even as Kutch continues to experience mild tremors week after week