Tuesday, May 9, 2006 (Ahmedabad):
In the aftermath of the riots in Gujarat in 2002 the government issued bonds to victims – but it now says there is no money to buy them back.
Families that lost its members in the violence were given compensation of one and half lakh rupees of which Rs 60,000 was in the form of bond in the Sardar Sarovar dam project.
There are clear indications the bonds were handled badly. The victims were not given certificates but just letters.
They were not told the bonds were locked in for three years and for three more years from 2005.
"We were promised that bonds would be redeemed a year later. But in 2003 we were asked to come back two years later. And now the government has refused to redeem the bonds at all," said social worker Naseer Khan.
Sources in the Gujarat government claim bonds were given in lieu of cash compensation on the presumption that it will eventually make more money for the victims.
Ironically, dam officials claim they are ready to redeem the bonds but its up to the local collectors to give them the go-ahead.