Principles and provisions suggested for rehabilitation and reconstruction policy in earthquake affected areas of Gujarat

1. Now that the emergency and the first phase of rescue and relief is almost over, we urge that all the governmental and non governmental agencies must urgently shift to the employment generation plans and programs with food-for work arrangements, ensuring livelihood opportunities for the earthquake affected.

2. Every group involved in the social, economic, & physical reconstruction of Kutch and Saurashtra - the earthquake affected region must grant and respect people's right to information and right to participate in the planning process, with full freedom of expression at every stage of planning and execution. There should be complete transparency and accountability on the part of the State and the donor agencies.

3. Community participation must be sought through representatives of various socio economic sections within as a precondition for design, planning, site and material selection, material procurement, construction, and utilization of resources.

4. The earthquake-affected members of the community should be given the top priority in skilled and unskilled livelihood opportunities arising during the reconstruction and rehabilitation process.

5. Whether for cities, towns, or villages, relocation should as far as possible, be avoided.

6. New community location should be planned with clear consent from each mohallas / falia [vaas] and as far as possible, the village commune.

7. Where there is even partial, minimum relocation of a community, forcible, unjust land acquisition should be avoided. The scheduled castes, schedules and nomadic tribes, other socially and economically backward class communities, should be especially protected against land alienation.

8. No urban relocation, if any, should be at the displacement or deprivation cost of the rural communities.

9. Reconstruction planning should include apart from housing, community amenities [health, education, water supply, grazing ground, etc], all of which can be part of the final village resettlement plan.

10. New housing and community reconstruction should have facilities for land conservation, maximum rainwater harvesting, soak pits & drainage, along with other appropriate technology measures to fill water and energy requirements.

11. It is not the choice of material but choice of house-building technology that is one of the main factors determining the scale and nature of earthquake impact. In reconstruction, therefore, the choice of technology should necessarily be based on multiple criteria, including self-reliance of the community, availability of the material, and earth-quake proofing technology.

12. There should be no forcible, stereotype housing imposed on people, killing or rejecting their diversity of type of technology, and cultural aspects.

13. Wherever possible, such as in the villages of Saurashtra, retrofitting should be a priority over new construction.

14. Not big companies or builders, but the representatives of affected communities, people's organizations, NGOs, and the local government should form a body for decision making at every level of planning and execution of a project, where funds and inputs are to come from outside the community.

15. All funds received from any agency, national or international, including the collection of surcharge, must be deposited into a separate fund / account related to the earthquake disaster and must be utilized only for the purpose for which it is assigned.

16. An independent high power committee with eminent persons from various walks of life should be immediately constituted to monitor the planning and execution, including expenditure at each - national, state and local - stage.

Statement on Principles and Provisions for Rehabilitation