28 July, 2021

A Life Less Relieved

As aid management remains in tatters, and many areas thirst for relief, the Gujarat government caves in to utter chaos

A Life Less Relieved
February 6: Bhuj. Angry quake-affected villagers and townspeople have gheraoed the district collector. "Hand over the charge to the army. Let them distribute the relief," they shout. The protesters are convinced the relief meant for them will lose its way in the maze of sarkari machinery. Many villages have already been deprived of promised help even as the relief items pile up. Now, the people here feel forsaken even by the state administration.

Over the days the discontent ferments. The mismanagement of relief in Kutch has become a sore point. The only sign of order people saw in the chaos was the army. But they're worried that with the army's rescue operation in its last stages, they'll once again have to suffer the ineffectiveness of the civil administration. At the Lalan College grounds in the ruins of Bhuj town, the dust hasn't settled yet. Day and night, hundreds of trucks roar in to offload tonnes of relief supplies sent from across the country and the globe. Although companies of the Rapid Action Force (raf), Central Industrial Security Force (cisf), state police...

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