the Times Of India

Thursday 10 February 2000





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Over one lakh employed on relief works: Vala

GANDHINAGAR: State revenue minister Vajubhai Vala said on Wednesday that over 1,00,000 people have been employed on relief work started in the drought-affected districts of Kutch, Saurashtra and North Gujarat.

Talking to reporters after reviewing the action plan prepared by the government with senior officials here, Vala said district collectors had been given wide-ranging powers to deal with the drought-like situation. According to details furnished by the Relief Commissinorate, over 1,00,000 people have currently been provided with work in Kutch, Banaskantha, Patan and some parts of Jamnagar districts.

Some of the relief works being carried out are budgetted works while some non-budgetted works have also been started to provide relief to people in scarcity-hit areas. Over 5,000 villages have been declared scarcity-hit by the revenue department.

The minister said the state government had prepared a master plan for Rs 922 crore to meet the situation. District authorities have been provided funds for purchase of fodder and other relief materials, he said.

Besides, the state government had raised the cash dole for aged persons to Rs 10 as against Rs 6 paid earlier. Children would now be entitled to Rs 6 as against Rs 3.In some districts, disbursement of cash dole had begun, he added.

The minister said that labourers engaged on budgetted works would get wages around Rs 75 to Rs 80 while those on non-budgetted ones would get around Rs 35 to Rs 40 per day.

The state government has accorded highest priority to providing drinking water to Saurashtra and Kutch and parts of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Surendranagar districts. At several places drinking water was being supplied through newly created pipeline network while in small towns group drinking water schemes have been implemented.

Vala, who also holds the finance portfolio, said the state government was committed to abolishing octroi duty which would be replaced by entry tax and turnover tax. The state government had already prepared the draft Bill for turnover tax while for entry tax the government was awaiting clearance from the Central government. Once the clearance was given, the state government would introduce the Bill in the state assembly and the decision would be implemented, he said.

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