The Uttarakhand government has been criticised by a Parliamentary Standing Committee for having failed to pay out compensation to the families of more than 400 victims of the devastating flood that struck the hilly state in June 2013. The committee also pulled up the state government for failing to issue death certificates to all the affected families, hampering their ability to file life insurance claims.

More than two years after the disaster, 437 families of people killed in the disaster are still awaiting compensation, while the death certificates of 417 deceased are yet to be issued, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs said in a report tabled in the Rajya Sabha last week. All the affected families are from other states. Most of the victims were in Uttarakhand as pilgrims to the Hindu shrines in Kedarnath and Badrinath.

The official toll of the disaster has been put at 4,112. Of these, 3,178 victims were from other states and 934 from Uttarakhand. The government had announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of the dead but not all of them have received their dues.

“The Committee is constrained to express its displeasure” at the situation, the report noted, recommending that the state government should act without “further delay”.

Slow progress

The committee also lambasted that Uttarakhand government for tardy progress in making payments to locals to reconstruct homes destroyed in the floods. “The Committee notes that only 77.75% or 1,922 beneficiaries have been given first installment of Rs 1.5 lakh,” the report said. “The Committee is of the view that this is not a good achievement made by the State Government after lapse of a substantial period.”

After the disaster, the Parliamentary Standing Committee had suggested that steps should be take to strengthen the state’s disaster management mechanis. But the report pointed out that neither the Union Home Ministry nor the Uttarakhand government have chalked out plans to build shelters and community centres with sufficient food stocks to meet a similar natural calamity in the future.

The Parliamentary Committee expressed the hope that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government would take steps to help Uttarakhand recover from the shock of devastation and put the state back on the rails.