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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 11:40 GMT
Andaman tsunami victims protest
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Tsunami victims inside a temporary shelters
Tsunami victims are not happy with the new houses
Victims of the 2004 tsunami in India's eastern Andaman and Nicobar archipelago have rioted in protest against the new houses provided by the government.

At least 12 people have been injured in the violence after protestors burnt official vehicles at Hut Bay in Little Andaman islands.

They were protesting against the location and quality of construction of their new houses.

Officials say the tsunami killed more than 3,500 in the Andamans.

Tsunami victims in the Hut Bay area have gone on strike in protest against what they call inadequate and shoddy housing.

"The permanent houses the government is making for us are located far away from our workplaces," resident Somnath Banik said.

"The houses are made of pre-fabricated material which will make them very hot. Also the houses are on a twin sharing basis which is not acceptable to us."

Locals say Hut Bay residents have observed two strikes in recent weeks in protest against what residents describe as "the high handedness of the administration."

Tsunami victims in the Andamans were first put up in tents in more than 200 evacuee camps, then shifted to nearly 10,000 temporary shelters made of tin roofs.

Angry

They are now being shifted to more than 8,500 new houses made for them with pre-fabricated structures that have been shipped from mainland India at considerable cost.

The Nicobarese tribes people in south of the archipelago , who bore the brunt of the tsunami, were the first to protest against the pre-fabricated housing.

They said it was far too hot, given the warm climes of the archipelago.

Last month, the Nicobarese stopped erection of these new houses in some parts of their islands.

Some Nicobarese were also upset when the Indian navy tried to evict six of them from their homes.

The navy said the six were encroaching on their land - the tribals dispute that.

Most houses in the archipelago are built cheaply using local wood.

Nicobarese leaders say the pre-fab houses are hugely expensive. The authorities say they have been designed "in consultation with the local people".


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