While the flood situation in Assam continues to worsen, there is no official word on disaster relief funds from the Centre or the State. The Congress party in Assam charged the Centre for ignoring the flood-affected people of the state by not disbursing much-required funds.
According to IANS, Ripun Bora, vice-president of the Assam unit of the Congress, said that despite the state government submitting a memorandum detailing the amount required to get over last year’s floods, the central government has not released any money till now.
“On November 29, 2014, visiting Assam for the first time since becoming prime minister, Narendra Modi sought details of funds required to deal with the devastating floods of June, July and August that year.”
He said that Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had then submitted a memorandum seeking Rs.2,534.15 crore, including funds needed for relief and rehabilitation, for the affected people.
Bora alleges that the Centre has released only Rs.380 crore of the amount till now and added that it did not come from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) but from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
The State Disaster Respond Fund is a fund constituted in 2005 under Section 48(1) (a) of Disaster Management Act wherein the Central Government is required to provide funds in two instalments to every State as per recommendation of Finance Commission for dealing with various natural calamities, irrespective of whether such calamities occurs during the year or not.
Gogoi met union Home Minister Rajnath Singh last month and sought Rs.500 crore as immediate central assistance to meet the current situation. The Assam Chief Minister had targeted the union minister Sarbananda Sonowal for claiming that the government had released Rs.207 crores for relief purposes and said that it was only the first installment of the promised Rs.414 crore
“The Rs.207 crore received by Assam in May this year is merely the first installment of the central share of SDRF receivable by the state along with all other states in normal course.”
Following this, Minister of State for Development of the Northeastern Region Jitendra Singh, after visiting the flood-affected areas in Assam, announced the advance release of the second installment of the central share of the SDRF.
Bora also alleged that while the state government had requested the Centre for a team of experts during the floods in August last year, the team arrived only this year in February “when there was no sign of floods”.
He also said that the BJP government has also not allocated any amount for repairing and building embankments on various rivers in the state and to prevent erosion. The Chief Minister has now demanded over Rs.600 crores. The Assam floods have inundated areas in 20 out of 32 districts in the state affecting the lives of over 18 lakh people. Latest reports claim that at least 41 have died