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Punjab adopts 209 families in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

January 22, 2005 16:38 IST

Punjab on Saturday adopted over 200 families of ex-servicemen in the tsunami-hit Campbell Bay Island in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, promising them financial assistance and educational grants to their children.

After a whistle-stop tour of the devastated islands, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh told reporters that each of the 209 families of ex-servicemen settlers in the Campbell Bay area will be given Rs 100,000 as ex-gratia to rebuild their lives.

"There are families from Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra and Orissa settled here in the 1960s. I have a little bit of emotion for these settlers who came here for a national cause," Singh said.

The Punjab government will also set up a Campbell Bay Education Relief Trust with an initial outlay of Rs 2 crore to extend educational assistance to the children of the settlers.

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The government will also help rebuild eight schools that were devastated by the tsunami in Hut Bay, Katchal, Kamorta, Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay.

"'We will also provide student scholarships and give them admission in Punjab schools. For such students, we will relax rules that make learning Punjabi mandatory in the state," he said.

Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar islands Prof Ram Kapse said the gesture by the Punjab government was exemplary and hoped that other state governments would also come forward to help tsunami victims.

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