By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 29 March 2019
The Department of Home of the Central Tibetan Administration will have a budget of 573.5 million rupees for the fiscal year 2019-20.
This department takes care of the welfare of exile Tibetans in 58 settlements in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. 39 of the major settlements are agriculture-based, and others have handicraft centres. There are 12 settlements in Nepal and seven in Bhutan.
Members of the exile Tibetan Parliament asked various questions related to the Department during the ongoing budget session.
Minister Sonam Topgyal explained the situation of the 16 families who lost 19 shops to fire in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, in February during a protest by locals over certain issues. He said that an assessment has been made and that relief will be provided in the near future.
Regarding the Dobhi Tibetan settlement in Kullu valley which was affected by the flooding of the Beas River in September last year, the Minister said that immediate relief was provided, with ten lakh rupees sanctioned to the affected families for their food and shelter. This settlement has about 400 people. The local authorities have been approached about building an embankment to stop more floods in future. A fund of 80 lakh rupees have been raised to provide assistance.
When Cyclone Titli battered Odisha (Orissa) and Andhra Pradesh in October last year, the Tibetan settlement in Odhisha was left with major destruction to houses, crops, and fruit trees. 26 houses were damaged, 1,015 acres of crops were spoiled affecting 32 households, and 3,500 fruit trees were uprooted.
Topgyal said that funds of 167 lakh rupees have been distributed to the affected families. Of that amount, the Government of India contributed 53 lakh rupees, and 90 lakh rupees were raised through donations from around the world.
Concerning the loss of more than 400 yaks to families in Lachen and Lachung in Sikkim due to a snowstorm, the Minister said that a detailed report has been sought. What needs to be done will be known after reviewing the report.
The Minister also explained that his department looks after 2,000 destitute elderly with monetary assistance.
New community hall
Speaking about a new community hall in McLeod Ganj, Topgyal said that a new hall would cost a significant amount of money. The current community hall could still be used for a while with some renovation. He said the department has allocated five lakh rupees for renovation. Member Ngawang Tharpa, elaborating on the importance of McLeod Ganj, said a new community hall has become important for the area.
Tibet Sun has learned that the Tibetan Welfare Office has long been requesting a new community hall in McLeod Ganj. The current community hall has fallen into a dilapidated condition, and the capacity is small.