Stating that the Centre’s grant of Rs 500 crore has not yet been received by Gujarat, Geniben Thakor, the Congress MLA from Vav in Banaskantha district, on Thursday alleged “large-scale corruption” and “discrimination” in the relief work that was undertaken by the state government in the flood-ravaged Banaskantha and Patan districts last year.
Speaking on the budgetary demands of the Revenue Department during a discussion in the Assembly, Thakor said, “There has been a lot of corruption in awarding compensation for jamin dhovan (damage to land parcels),” alleging that two persons with land parcels next to each other were given different compensation.
While thanking Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for camping in Banaskantha for five days to supervise the relief work following massive floods in July last year, Thakor alleged largescale discrimination or drawbacks in the relief work in providing cash doles, compensation for damage to land parcels and compensation in deaths of livestock.
“Immediately after the floods, the state government advised people to bury dead bodies of livestock to prevent spread of diseases. And accordingly, people buried their dead animals in 10-feet-deep pits. However, later at the time of paying compensation for the dead animals, government officials started demanding remains of the dead animals as evidence. How to produce dead animals’ remains when they were buried in 10-feet-deep pits?” Thakor said.
According to Thakor, the Gujarat government had declared a package of Rs 1,500 crore for the two flood-hit districts.
“However, at least Rs 192 crore remains unspent till date. And the Central government’s grant of Rs 500 crore has still not come.”
Thakor, who defeated BJP heavyweight and former minister Shankar Chaudhary to win from Vav, threatened to approach the Gujarat High Court if the government failed to look into her complaints. In his reply, Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel launched a political attack on the Congress asking the party where were its MLAs at the time of relief work. “The Chief Minister had moved to Banaskantha with entire Secretariat… I want to ask those raising questions on relief work, where were you during the floods?” he said, referring to the camping of Congress MLAs in Karnataka during the Rajya Sabha elections for the fear of getting poached by the ruling BJP.
Patel’s comments created an uproar in the House with Congress members saying that BJP was wiped out in the two districts of Sabarkantha and Patan during the Assembly elections. Out of the nine seats in Banaskantha, six were won by the Congress. Whereas in Patan, three out of four seats were won by Congress. Patel then said that the state government will take strict action in any complaint of any irregularity.
Motion to remove speaker to be taken up in 7 days
The Opposition Congress’s proposal to move a no-confidence motion against Speaker Rajendra Trivedi was placed before the House, on Thursday. When the proposal was moved, all the Congress MLAs and Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani stood up in its favour. The Speaker then declared that the date and time to bring the proposal for discussion will be declared later. It is expected to be discussed in the House within seven days.