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Monday, October 19, 2009

Hundreds of Aila-hit families in Dakope still under open sky

Picture (Dailystar news): Rendered homeless by cyclone Aila on May 25 this year, people of Kamarkhola village in Dakope upazila under Khulna district are still living miserably in awful makeshift shelters on a road. Photo: STAR

Source: The Daily Star News

Many victims of cyclone Aila-hit unions in Dakope upazila of Khulna district have alleged irregularities and malpractices in distribution of the government fund allocated for reconstruction of their damaged houses.

Over a lakh people of about 35,000 families of Sutarkhali, Kamarkhola, Tildanga and Banishanta unions under Dakope upazila are still staying under the open sky and in makeshift camps at high places as the Aila on May 25 this year rendered them homeless.

"Aila fully damaged 22 kilometres of embankments in these four unions. We hope to start work for reconstructing the damaged embankments by the last week of next month," said engineer Abdur Rob Howlader of Water Development Board.

Nani Gopal Mandol, lawmaker elected from Khulna-1 constituency (Dakope and Batiaghata upazilas) said the government had responded to his request for allocation of fund required to reconstruct the damaged embankments as early as possible.

Meanwhile, there are allegations of corruption and malpractice in distribution of government fund allocated particularly for reconstruction of houses damaged by Aila.

According to the UNO's office, Aila fully damaged 25,167 houses and partly damaged 8,349 houses in nine unions under the upazila.

Each of the affected 7,530 families of Sutarkhali and 3,533 families of Kamarkhola union received Tk 3,000 for reconstruction of their damaged houses while victims of other unions are yet to get it.

There are allegations of irregularities, malpractices and nepotism in distribution of Tk 3 crore 31 lakh and 89,000 allocated by the government for reconstruction of damaged houses of Aila victims.

Many Aila victims did not get money although their houses were fully damaged, said Mahabubur Rahman of Kalabogi village of Sutarkhali union.

"I did not get money for reconstruction of my house fully damaged by Aila as I did not offer a certain amount from Tk 3,000 to the UP chairman as tip," said Khokon Bawali of Satghoria village in Kamarkhola union.

As this correspondent talked separately with the upazila chairman, the UNO and police officials, they said that none of the Aila victims had so far submitted any written complaint against anyone committing such grave offence of misappropriation.

They, however, did not rule out the possibility of such malpractices.

"Sutarkhali union parishad member Abdul Hossain Sana was arrested on October 12 on charge of corruption in distributing fund meant for reconstruction of damaged houses," the UNO said.

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