Plans gone awry

at least 85-90 per cent villagers in the Kachhch district of Gujarat do not want to be relocated. Most of the houses in the district were destroyed by the earthquake that struck Gujarat on January 26, 2001. A survey conducted by voluntary agencies reports that nine out of 10 villagers say that they would like to be rehabilitated at the same site they were living in. The findings come as a severe blow to the state government's Rs 1.50 crore per village scheme of adoption of villages by non-governmental organisations, which were entirely based on the assumption that the villages would be relocated. The state government was contemplating to integrate both interim and permanent structures. Conceding to the villagers demand will not only increase the cost of the rehabilitation programme but also the time taken. "Shifting the temporary structures to permanent sites in the coming months will be a headache,' said a senior official.

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