ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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MADHYA PRADESH- Let Them Watch Television

claims to be engaged in an all-out war against what it considers "the worst drought of the century". The; only snag is that it has practically no funds. The government has estimated that it will need Rs 70 crores for drought relief; against this, despite a cut in development expenditure, it has been able to collect only Rs 13 crores! The response to the appeal for donations to the Chief Minister's relief fund has been dismal. Industrialists apparently feel that they had done their bit for the UP election. As for the man in the street, he needs relief himself, A drought relief fund started by a local daily with much fanfare elicited no response despite the bait of the donors' names being published in the newspaper. The government-sponsored MP Kala Pa- rishad donated the entire proceeds of its annual music programme. However, while these came to Rs 2,000, the expenditure on organising the performance was Rs 12,000 ! There is, as a result, hardly any relief activity worth the name. The 16.2 million drought-affected people in the state have been left to fend for themselves. The government had sought to make out that 4 lakh people had been given jobs on various relief and Plan works. However, after the leaders of the opposition as well as some mem' hers of the ruling party had contested this figure, the government conceded that the figure was the cumulative total of labour employed uptil now! Thousands of people are returning disappointed from the work-sites. In a Mahasamund village, for instance, about 2,000 people turned up for work but only 200 could be absorbed. There are many villages where relief work lasted only a week or even for just 3 day! Wide publicity is being given to the fact that district collectors have been authorised to open relief works. But where are the funds, the collectors ask.

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