Assam Cong picks loopholes in evacuation ops, relief distribution
Opposition pulls up govt for ‘not getting’ adequate funds from Centre
Guwahati, May 23: The Opposition Congress in Assam has accused the BJP-led government in the state of “committing lapses” in the ongoing flood relief distribution and evacuation operations, while claiming that many flood-hit people are stranded and spending their days and nights without food or shelter in the worst-affected districts.
Addressing mediapersons here on Monday, Assam PCC media department chairman, Manjit Mahanta said that while floods and erosion have taken a dangerous turn in the state with about nine lakh affected in 31 districts, the state government has been “indifferent” to the grave situation faced by the affected people.
Mahanta informed that three APCC teams had visited affected areas in lower, central and north Assam to assess the situation only to find that the evacuation process and relief distribution have been far from being loophole-free.
“People have not been provided adequate food and shelter, some even have been precariously spending days on rooftops while the relief camps opened by the administration do not have appropriate sanitation or healthcare facilities,” he alleged.
“Moreover, the state government has failed to bring enough aid under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to tackle this annual menace. From 2018 to 2020, not a single penny was sanctioned to the state for flood management under NDRF. While an amount of just Rs 46.37 crore was sanctioned during 2020-2021, there was nothing sanctioned to Assam under NDRF in 2021-2022,” Mahanta alleged.
Drawing a comparison, the Congress spokesperson tecalled that during the financial year 2020-2021, states such as Gujarat was given Rs 1000 crore under NDRF; Maharashtra Rs 701 crore; Odisha Rs 500 crore,; West Bengal Rs 300 crore; Tamil Nadu Rs 213.51 crore, Jharkhand Rs 200 crore while Karnataka was provided Rs 629.03 crore.
“However, despite flood/erosion being annual problems of Assam, the state has been given negligible funds under NDRF, which is an insult to the state. So we demand that the state government should bring adequate funds under NDRF for flood mitigation,” he said.
Mahanta further slammed the state water resources department for not doing enough in the name of embankment upgrade.
“As many as 477 schemes worth Rs 1728.55 crore have been taken up for embankment repair/maintenance/construction but work remains incomplete in the past two years,” he alleged.
“Local contractors have not been given contracts in the past two years and instead the department has resorted to a wholesale system of awarding major contracts to one contractor thereby affecting progress of work,” the Assam PCC spokesperson alleged.
Demanding speedy evacuation operations, provision of adequate relief items and proper healthcare facilities in the camps in view of the possible spread of infections post flood, Mahanta further asserted that the state government “should not divert attention of people to the Batadrava issue” by neglecting flood/erosion problems in the state.