Amreli flood: Congress MLA begins hunger strike for relief package

More than five lakh people living in 300 plus villages have been affected.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot | Published:July 7, 2015 4:48 am
Amreli flood, Congress, flood-hit, Paresh Dhanani, symbolic hunger, relief package, ahmedabad news, city news, local news, Gujarat news, Indian Express Paresh Dhanani and his supporters on hunger strike.

Demanding the state government declare special relief package for flood-hit Amreli within three days, Congress MLA Paresh Dhanani went on a symbolic hunger strike on Monday.

Dhanani, former Congress MP Virjibhai Thummar and local Congress leaders assembled at Jivraj Mehta Chowk in Amreli town and started their three-day symbolic hunger strike around 10 am. Dhanani, who is also secretary of the All Indian Congress Committee was joined by Shambhu Desai, president of Amreli district unit of Congress and scores of local party workers in the protest.

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“The floods of June 24 were the worst in last 100 years in Amreli. More than five lakh people living in 300 plus villages have been affected. But 12 days after the floods, people are still spending nights under the open sky, their houses having collapsed, their agricultural land having been eroded and cattle killed by flood water. We have repeatedly written to the state government but it has not declared any interim or comprehensive relief package till date,” Dhanani told The Indian Express over phone.

The MLA further said he had submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel through Amreli district collector on June 30 demanding a relief package but to no avail. Therefore he was forced to go on hunger strike.

Dhanani demanded that the state government should give interest-free loans so that people can rebuild their houses, farmers can restore their land, cattle-herders can purchase new cattle and shop-keepers can set their stores again. He also demanded that government should waive electricity bills of farmers.

“The government is just buying time in the name of surveying the extent of damage and trying to eschew its responsibility. People are struggling to put their life back on track but the government is cynically waiting for them to get up on their feet. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not said a word on the devastation till date though he expresses his concern when there is natural calamity in Pakistan or Nepal,” Dhanani alleged.

He even claimed that some cheques of cash-doles were bouncing and thus making mockery of flood victims. “If we wanted to play politics over the issue, we could have started hunger strike the very next day. But this is a serious issue concerning people in distress. Let the state government declare a package,” the MLA added.

Dhanani said if the state government did not announce a package during this period, he will go on fast-unto-death.

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