Janpath Citizen's Initiative
Over 200 NGOs of Gujarat have come together under the aegis of Janpath Citizen's Initiative to support voluntary relief efforts in Kutch and other affected districts of Gujarat.
Some of the member NGOs of this network are Janpath (a network of 150 NGOs in Gujarat), Pravah (a network of 40 NGOs working on drinking water issues), Navsarjan (an NGO working with Dalits in 2000 villages of Gujarat), Utthan, Gantar, Janvikas, Naya Marg, Drishti Media Collective, Anandi, and several others.
Certain reports appeared in the press this morning reporting a withdrawal of Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan, the nodal NGO body managing relief & rehabilitation efforts in Kutch, from the relief operations due to alleged political interference. Such reports can have a demoralising effect on the quake victims and relief workers, hence this denial assumes greater significance and deserves extensive publicity.
The Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan wishes to clarify that these reports are either baseless or are blowing a very minor issue out of proportion. On the contrary, the Abhiyan wishes to assert that its team continues to work very closely with the District Collectorate of Kutch. Abhiyan representatives operate the 24-hour NGO desk at the Kutch Collectorate, and the Abhiyan participates in daily coordination meetings with the Collector and other government personnel at 9:45 pm.
In Ahmedabad, a similar coordination exercise is also underway. Mr Hasmukh Adhiya and Ms Gauri Shankar (Secretary - Technical) representing the state government, meet with NGO representatives every morning at the Circuit House in order to ensure smooth coordination and proper planning of relief and rehabilitation efforts all across the state.
The District Collectorate of Kutch and the Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan are also issuing a press note in order to clarify this report, and set the record straight.
The Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan was formed as an urgent response to the severe cyclone that hit coastal Kutch in 1998, and even then had worked in close cooperation and coordination with the government machinery. The experience gained by the Abhiyan then has been of immense value in the post-earthquake relief & rehabilitation scenario in Kutch today, although the scale and scope of this challenge is far larger than the cyclone.
The Abhiyan has 17 "service centres" set up in the affected areas of Kutch in coordination with the government, and these will increase to 20 over the next few days - servicing around fifty to seventy thousand affected families across the district. To begin with, these centres are undertaking and monitoring relief support to all these families, but over time they will involve the local people in planning their own rehabilitation, and coordinate its implementation with the government machinery.