Lucknow: Finding itself in the dock after the report of a committee on death of children in relief camps, the UP government on Friday said those living in the Muzaffarnagar and Shamli camps will be shifted to vacant government buildings and blankets and bonfires will also be arranged for them.
The announcement has come a day after a high-level committee, appointed by the state government, submitted in its report that at least 34 children have lost their lives in the relief camps, where as many as 4,783 people are still living.
The committee also trashed claims of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav that "conspirators" owing allegiance to opposition parties were living in the camps.
Chief Secretary Javed Usmani told reporters here today, "We have initiated process of shifting those living in camps to vacant government building to provide them roof. Other arrangements like providing blankets and bonfires have also been made for them."
He, however, said that no one will be "forced" to shift from the relief camps. The vacant building are being identified.
Usmani was briefing reporters after a meeting to review condition of camps with senior officers, including Divisional Commissioners of Meerut and Saharanpur and Districts Magistrates of Shamli, Meerut, Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar.
The officer said that there were five relief camps including two big ones in Loi (Muzaffarnagar) and Malakpur (Shamli) in which people of "different categories" were living.
"First category is of people who are of nine riot-hit villages and did not want to return. Their concerns are acknowledged by the government also," he said.
"Then there is a category of those who have got Rs 5 lakh from the government but are taking time to decide where to shift. Also there are people, who have got Rs 5 lakh compensation but there is a dispute within the family," Usmani said.Some people are also being misled by locals, Usmani said
adding that as these camps are on government land, those living had been assured by "some persons" that they would permanently get permission to stay there.
"At the meeting, the officers have been directed to instill confidence in people living in camps and clear their doubts. Officers have been asked to persuade them to return to their native villages, provide them security, deploy police in their villages, if needed," Usmani said.
He said that the facilities provided in relief camps would continue and no one will be forced to leave them against their will.