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Leh floods: Victims still await full compensation

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Rohan DuaRohan Dua, TNN | Aug 8, 2011, 03.13AM IST

SABOO (Leh): It's been a year since the cloudburst last year killed two members of Jaigmet Angmo's family including her husband and swept away their home in Saboo village of Leh. Braving the chilly winter and heavy rains, she spent last 10 months building a new home with the help of her father. But now even as she nurses her one-and-half-year-old daughter in their newly constructed home, she doesn't have much money left to ensure a regular supply of food and basic amenities for the weeks to come.

"The government assured us a sum of Rs 2 lakhs. We are yet to receive the second installment. The amount given to us was insufficient as the money spent on building this house cost us nearly Rs 8 lakhs which we had saved after the hard work of last 12 years," said Angmo.

Many like Angmo scrimped and saved money in their banks to rear their kids in the absence of a permanent source of livelihood after the flash floods washed away the land that housed their farms, shops and homes.

For many, agriculture has been the only source of income and a large part of their produce is consumed by the Indian Army. TOI had earlier reported on how the dip in soil fertility have left many farmers bereft of a good produce this year. With the entire amount of compensation meant for reconstructing homes and restoring agricultural land not reaching them, things haven't improved for them.

TOI has now managed to get exclusive copies of the documents including correspondence exchanged between the Leh district administration, the J&K government and the central government.

A letter written by the Ladakh affairs department on April 28 this year had requested the Home Ministry to urgently release the assured funds of Rs 133.31 crores for permanent restoration in the damaged areas of Ladakh. However, even as the aggrieved families mourned the first anniversary of their region's worst natural calamity, funds are yet to reach the Leh administration, said Tersing Angshok, the deputy commissioner of Leh.

"Initially, we had sent the request for Rs 18 crores, which is generally the case whenever PMO releases funds to disaster-hit areas. Union Home Minister P Chidambram had assured us a sum of Rs 16 crores for agricultural land restoration during his visit to Leh on October 30. But not a single penny has reached us till date and we had to depend on the state government. We first demanded Rs 1.5 crore and then were forced to ask for more -- Rs 3.5 crores," said Angshok.

Apart from the agricultural land restoration, the other concern for many victims is the delay in receiving installments of compensation. For this many victims are blaming both the state government as well as central government for not helping them to facilitate communication with the banks. While talking to TOI about the delay of payment of installments, the DC admitted that many victims haven't yet received the second installment of compensation."There are discrepancies in their account numbers. The code of their bank accounts has been changed. I am not the spokesman of the bank. It's the responsibility of the bank," Angshok added.