Kandhamal relief camps set to shut down

Six months after they were started in the aftermath of the riots,the relief camps in Kandhamal district are all set to be shut down.

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar | Published: February 12, 2009 12:12:00 pm

Six months after they were started in the aftermath of the riots,the relief camps in Kandhamal district are all set to be shut down.

“From an initial strength of 25000,the number have come down to 4000. Of these 4000 we have taken 2500 people to transition relief camps near their respective villages. Currently only 1500 people are staying in block-level relief camps in Tikabali,K Nuagaon and Raikia,” Kandhamal distict collector Krishan Kumar told The Indian Express.

Kumar said the district administration has chalked out a strategy to move 1500 people back to their villages much before the electoral process to the State assembly begins. Elections to the State assembly are due in April. “Though we would have moved all the people in the relief camps back to their villages,we are treading with caution. We want to ensure that whatever happened in August should not recur. My officials are persuading people in relief camps to go back to their homes. In some cases we have to hold 7-8 meetings to remove any apprehension in the their minds,” said Kumar.

To make the process of rehabilitation easier,2500 people of Mandasur,Mandakia and Tiangia have been shifted to transition relief camps near their respective villages. “Since these camps are situated closer to ther homes,people staying there can go to their homes in the morning to perform daily chores and come back to the transition camp before evening. This would make them confident about returning to their old homes once again,” said the Kandhamal collector.

Since the homes of several people staying in relief camps were gutted or damaged,they can rebuild their homes while staying in transition camps. About 150 churches,prayer houses and pastoral training centres and 3600 houses in the district were damaged in the riot.

Meanwhile,the district administration has sent a list of 350 people against whom allegations of fake caste certificates were lodged by Kandhamal Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samiti to the SC/ST department for necessary action. Fake caste certificate was one of the reasons behind the riots. A Hindu Dalit loses his caste identity after changing religion. However,a Hindu tribal could continue to avail benefit of an ST even after converting into other religion. The Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samiti and organisations like VHP alleged that several Dalit Christians in Kandhamal procured ST certificate through fraudulent means to avail undue benefits.

More than 600 complaints of false caste certificates including that of Congress Rajya Sabha members Radhakanta Nayak are being investigated by 10 inspectors of police specially deputed by the state police headquarters. Of these,investigations have been completed in 350 cases. “Most of the cases,the allegations have been found true. Our department would then take necessary action against the offenders,” said an official of the State SC/ST department.

Besides Nayak,allegations have been made against ruling BJD’s sitting Lok Sabha MP Sugrib Singh. Other prominent persons accused of such charges include former DGP John Nayak,retired IAS officer Issac Behera and ex-MLA Saluga Pradhan of ruling BJD,all Christians.

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