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Saturday, February 03, 2001



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Panel to coordinate rehabilitation efforts -- Chambers to adopt Gujarat villages

Our Bureau


THREE leading chambers of business and industry have agreed to adopt clusters of quake-hit villages in Gujarat for relief and rehabilitation.

Announcing the decision after a meeting of the Group of Ministers on disaster management, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, said the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Indu stry (FICCI) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) would take over these villages and carry out immediate relief and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Details of the exercise were being discussed between the Cabinet Secretary, Mr T.R. Prasad, and the representatives of the three chambers, she said, adding that chiefs of public sector undertakings were also holding parleys with Mr Prasad for similar act ion.

The Government had set up a standing committee under the chairmanship of Mr Prasad to ensure that a constructive and coordinated role was played by industry in the relief and rehabilitation operations.

The meeting was convened by the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and attended by the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, and the Presidents of the three apex chambers, among others.

``Rather than merely allowing individual companies to adopt villages and areas of their choice in Gujarat, it was felt that a coordinated approach among all the three chambers would yield better results as they can focus on much larger areas,'' senior ch amber officials said. It was pointed out at the meeting that there was a normal tendency among some individual corporates to concentrate on adopting areas of their interest.

Besides the Cabinet Secretary, the standing committee would comprise the senior officials of the three chambers, including the Presidents of the three chambers. Gujarat will also appoint a Government representative to the standing committee to coordinate the work and also suggest the areas which could be adopted by each of the chambers.

``Broadly, the chambers were told that the efforts should focus on providing immediate relief by sending more blankets and tents, especially to the worst-affected areas near Kutch. Besides, in the medium and long-term, the chambers were being asked to ta ke initiatives that would help in the rebuilding and reconstruction of these areas,'' chamber officials said.

Meanwhile, the industry was unanimous in supporting the Government's decision to impose an additional two per cent surcharge on corporate and personal income-tax towards financing the relief and reconstruction work in Gujarat.

Pic.The Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, the Finance Minister, Mr. Yashwant Sinha, the CII President, Mr Arun Bharat Ram and the FICCI President, Mr Chirayu Amin on their way to attend a meeting called by the Government to discuss relief measures for Gujar at in New Delhi on Friday.

Picture by Ramesh Sharma

Related links:
Adani - A Samaritan in rural Kutch

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