Hitesh Chavda, Gandhinagar: The widow of a Banaskantha-flood victim has claimed that the state government has denied her of the monetary relief that the center had promised after heavy rains during July 2017 caused severe flooding in several districts of Gujarat and claimed lives of more than 200 people in it.
28-year old Hasmukh Rathod of Thalwada village in Vadgam taluka of Banskantha district had gone to graze his cattle near Saraswati River. He drowned after the water levels in the Saraswati River of the village had increased and he was swept away by heavy currents. His uncle Ganesh Rathod has filed complaints with almost every single concerned authority, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. 64 people had died from Banaskantha in the floods. The meteorological department data had shown that Banaskantha and Patan regions received more than average and heavy rainfall in July last year.
The government of India had announced an interim relief package of Rs 500 crore for Gujarat flood victims. It had promised an ex-gratia Rs 2,00,000 for the nearest kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the seriously injured. But Rathod’s widow Rekha is yet to receive a single penny of the compensation. Rekha is burdened with the responsibility of her 14-month old child and an aging, widowed mother-in-law. She claims to have no fixed income and has thus written to the additional revenue secretary Pankaj Kumar requesting his intervention into the matter. The taluka panchayat had recommended her name for the compensation to the Banaskantha district panchayat with a panchnama report and spot statements provided by the villagers to Chhapi Police confirming his death.
Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani had written to the district development officer (DDO) of Banaskantha asking monetary relief for the widow of Hasmukh Rathod. To which, the DDO responded that the man had died due to a fall on the river bank, and thus his death can’t be considered as a natural death because of which, his widow doesn’t qualify for the compensation.