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NRI with million-dollar plans for tsunami victims

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January 08, 2005 22:55 IST

The tsunami disaster has been a matter of great concern for India-born member of the European Parliament and chairperson of the European Parliament delegation for Southeast Asia and SAARC, Nina Gill.

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After visiting Chennai, Gill is in Mumbai attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2005, spreading the message that all People of Indian Origin must contribute to sustain the relief and rehabilitation measures being undertaken in the country.

Commenting on alleged discrimination against Dalits in rehabilitation camps in Tamil Nadu, she said on Saturday, "I will certainly look in to this issue. This kind of treatment from any quarter will not be tolerated. We will definitely look into the issue and ensure that all are treated equally. It is also important to emotionally help the trauma stricken people. Coastal people who depend on the sea for their livelihood are now scared of venturing into the ocean. They are yet to come to terms with the reality".

They should have more access to information, she says.

"The disaster should not fade from our minds as time passes by. The biggest challenge now is to provide the trauma-stricken people relief and care," she says.

Nina said her top priority would be to brief the European Parliament about the situation in India, debate the issue in the parliament and coordinate plans to speed up the rehabilitation process.

Aid has been pouring in for tsunami victims from all quarters.

The EU has already pledged $30 million and is coordinating relief work through agencies like UNICEF and UNDP.

"Our initiative will be to generate more funds and constructive help for the affected countries. We are hoping to generate funds to the tune of $ 100 million for rehabilitation," she said.

"Germany has made a significant contribution of $ 680 million and I hope we can generate more funds to fully restore normalcy in the affected areas."

Gill had a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the PBD opening session on Friday and apprised him about the situation.

"India should have a strong national policy to deal with such crises. The government should have long-term plans for all the affected states. The situation should be dealt by deploying more skills, know-how and strategic information, says Gill.

Manu A B in Mumbai