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NCP chief Sharad Pawar asks political leaders to refrain from visiting flood-ravaged villages

His remarks came as Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari flew to flood-hit districts on Tuesday with BJP MLA Ashish Shelar, and the Shiv Sena lashed out at “political tourism” that was hampering relief and rehabilitation work in these areas.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: July 28, 2021 7:50:54 am
NCP chief Sharad Pawar

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday asked political leaders to refrain from visiting flood-hit villages so that the administration can focus on rescue and rehabilitation works.

His remarks came as Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari flew to flood-hit districts on Tuesday with BJP MLA Ashish Shelar, and the Shiv Sena lashed out at “political tourism” that was hampering relief and rehabilitation work in these areas.

Koshyari, who visited Raigad and Ratnagiri districts, said the Centre would work with the state government to provide relief and assistance to all flood-affected people.

At Taliye village in Mahad taluka in Raigad, which lost 83 people in a massive landslide, Koshyari said: “It was very painful and tragic. I offer my condolences to those who died. At the same time, I would like to reassure that the Centre and state government will together work to rehabilitate those devastated by the floods.” He also visited flood-hit Chiplun in Ratnagiri.

Heavy rainfall has caused large scale flooding and landslips in Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur since July 22. A total of 1,028 villages and 1.94 lakh residents have been affected.

Reacting to Koshyari’s choice of taking along a BJP MLA for the visit, Pawar took a swipe at the Governor saying: “He seems to have taken people whom he trusts for the visit. I hope his visit ensures that the local residents affected by the flood get relief.”

He added that it was only the chief minister, deputy chief minister and district guardian ministers who needed to visit these areas. “But if other leaders go then it will put a burden on the administration, which is busy with rescue and relief works. I personally believe that leaders like me should avoid going to these areas at this point of time so that the administration is not disturbed from its work of providing relief to those affected,” Pawar, who is headed to Delhi on Wednesday for a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, told mediapersons in Mumbai.

Koshyari, meanwhile, chaired a review meeting at Guaghar guest house in Ratnagiri, which was attended by Minister for Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant, Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut, NCP MLA from Chiplun Shekhar Nikam, Collector Dr B N Patil, SP Mohit Kumar Garg and others.

A number of BJP leaders have visited disaster sites in the last few days, including Union Minister Narayan Rane, who had declared during his stopover at Taliye village that the state government was not doing enough to help the affected, and the Centre would do its utmost to help everyone. Rane was accompanied by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana said on Tuesday that while heavy rainfall had hindered relief works earlier, “political tourism” was slowing it down further. “Political tourism has started in flood-hit areas of the state and relief and rehabilitation work can be fast-tracked if it is stopped,” its editorial said.

It added that while Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was instructing the administration from the state secretariat, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Pravin Darekar and former BJP minister Girish Mahajan attempted to reach flood-hit Mahad in Raigad but got stuck due to heavy rain and had to be rescued by boats by the authorities.

The Sena mouthpiece said that BJP should not try to gain any advantage from the crisis. It added that Fadnavis’ statement that victims would get required help from the Centre was out of place. “Should a former chief minister of the state make a statement that the Centre will help flood victims? …how appropriate is it for the Opposition to take a stand that it recognises only the Union government?” asked the editorial.

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