Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Feb 13, 2005

About Us
Contact Us
National
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment |

National Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Centre to relax rules on missing persons in tsunami-hit areas

By Aarti Dhar

PORT BLAIR, FEB. 12. The Centre will relax the rules for declaring a missing person `dead' in the tsunami-affected areas. The Union Cabinet will take a decision on this soon.

This was announced by the Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, here today at a press conference after reviewing the relief and rehabilitation works in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with the members of the Integrated Relief Command (IRC) and officers of the local administration.

``We will not go by the legal procedure of waiting for seven years but ask the local police, administration or the local people to verify the death and provide compensation to the family,'' Mr. Patil said, adding that the law need not be amended for the purpose. Even an executive order after a Cabinet approval was enough to relax the rules.

Legally, a person is declared presumed dead seven years after he goes missing.

His or her family can carry out any legal formalities and are not entitled to any compensation for the dead during this period.

Over 5,000 people from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are still missing and their chances of survival are slim.

``The rule of the land is applicable only under normal circumstances. In a situation of natural disaster of this kind, the survivors are in need for immediate help and the Centre is willing to do so,'' Mr. Patil said.

He would also discuss the possibility of a tax relief to the affected people.

While assuring all assistance to the group of islands, the Home Minister said the Centre would do more for the archipelago than it had done for the affected areas on the mainland.

Mr. Patil said special care would be taken to ensure a secure future for those orphaned in the disaster.

The priority would be to send the children to their relatives, if they are in a condition or willing to take them.

`The community's willingness to look after them would also be welcome but in case none of this works, the Government would try and bring them up or allow reputed non-governmental organisations to look after them,'' he said adding that the Government would bear the cost of their education and employment to make them self-reliant.

On the issue of whether the Centre would `restrict' the entry of outsiders on the islands, Mr. Patil said there was no such thinking but certainly the number of visitors to the islands could be restricted to ensure that its natural resource was not exploited. But then, we cannot allow total alienation either.

Appreciating the relief work being carried out by the IRC, the Home Minister said they had identified some areas where more attention was needed.

``We have decided to work together with the local people, particularly the tribals, political representatives and those involved in the relief works. He said working on an island needed more coordination.''

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

National

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2005, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu