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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 12:41 GMT
What is the best way to rebuild Gujarat?

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has hit back at criticism over the handling of the devastating earthquake in the western state of Gujarat.

The huge scale of the disaster - more than 14,000 have been confirmed dead and 300,000 are homeless - has overwhelmed officials in many areas.

Should Gujarat wait for the Indian government to rebuild its infra-structure and economy, or is there a role for private enterprise?

Will the aid promised by the international community reach the people who need it? Two weeks into the disaster, how are people coping on the ground?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

The people of Gujarat are among the best when it comes to business. This is what has allowed it to develop into an industrial powerhouse in India. Perhaps the people of Gujarat can do better than the central government when it comes to rebuilding. The time for a new Gujarat is now, with the Gujarati in charge of how they want to rebuild.
Rahul Laxman Iyer, USA


The quake-stricken state of Gujarat has to put the tragedy behind and look towards the opportunity that this adversity has provided

Chandra Mohan Tiwari, India
The quake-stricken state of Gujarat has to put the tragedy behind and look towards the opportunity that this adversity has provided. It is time to build up the people's movement in the land of the Mahatma to set the things right by turning it into a model state and put the fear of God among those whose misdeed further aggravates the magnitude of such disasters. There is a need to set up a crisis management group involving various organs of the government and sensitised citizens. It should be ensured that new buildings that come up comply with requisite norms. There is a need to create emergency medical facilities like mobile hospitals to minimise the human sufferings. Acts of on the part of government officials and agencies should be dealt with sternly. The citizens on their part should resolve not to play havoc with the order of nature and take care to preserve and enhance natural resources so the chances of tragedies like cyclone, storms, droughts are lessened. Thus Gujarat can lead the way in rebuilding a new India.
Chandra Mohan Tiwari, India


The United Nations should play a bigger role in all this

Tony W., Sri Lanka / USA
The rebuilding of Gujarat will be have to be a collaborative effort by the national government, people of the region, and international entities. Disasters such as this don't happen every day, and it's unrealistic to think that the Indian government alone could rebuild the scrambles. The world needs to keep in mind that India is a developing nation with more than 1 billion people. This obviously means that the process will be slow. I personally feel that the United Nations should play a bigger role in all this. But having studied that moot system, I very much doubt if that will happen in the near future.
Tony W., Sri Lanka / USA

The tragedy has given us the opportunity to rebuild Gujarat in a planned way. The chief minister of Gujarat's promise to rebuild some devastated areas as model towns is very good, but we have to see how soon and how well it is implemented. We should consider all economic and social factors while planning to rebuild Gujarat.
Amit Kumar, India

Gujarat is the land of the wealthy. It won't be difficult getting funds raised for rehabilitation. The problem lies in the effective use of these funds. Transparency is of the utmost need, which might be lacking due to the traditional bureaucratic set-up.
Pranav, India

Time and again the Government of India has proved beyond reasonable doubt, that it is incapable of governing much less so rebuilding. I think it is time for the people and private enterprise to step in and set matters right. This will instil in people a feeling of self-confidence and that they are at nobody's mercy. This will send a chilling message to the political bosses in Delhi and elsewhere that they need to clean up their act if they want to be in office.
Sharad, USA


The people of the region affected are hardworking and have many skills

Vinod Dawda, UK
The people of the region affected are hardworking and have many skills. They need infrastructure like roads, water and electricity besides a roof over their heads. This has to be done in the fastest possible way to heal their psychological wounds and prevent helpless mass migration.
Vinod Dawda, UK

India cannot afford to be hit with such disasters. On the other hand it has an opportunity to develop this region from scratch with modern infrastructure.
Mohammed, USA

Gujarat should be rebuilt with the help of planners who are concerned about humanity and the future of the coming generations of the state and the country.
Vivek Manchanda, USA/ India

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See also:

01 Feb 01 | South Asia
Vajpayee hits at quake aid critics


Links to more South Asian stories