The floods in eastern Vidarbha, which has led to the evacuation of more than one lakh families and destroyed crops, were “man-made and not a natural calamity”, Opposition leader in the Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, said on Friday.
The former chief minister, who concluded his three-day tour in flood-ravaged Bhandara, Gondia, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nagpur districts on Friday, told mediapersons: “The images of destruction caused by the floods are painful. Families with children have overnight become homeless. The promising harvest of soyabean and cotton have been washed away. The farmers are helpless.”
“More than one lakh families along the river banks had left home for temporary shelters,” he said at Brahmapuri in Chandrapur.
Alleging that the floods are a result of the “government’s failure”, Fadnavis said: “The floods are man-made and not a natural calamity… What is more surprising is even now, there is no presence of government officials in the affected districts.”
Incessant rain in parts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and discharge of water from dams have been blamed for the floods in east Vidarbha. “Water released from Rajivsagar dam in Madhya Pradesh and Gosikhurd dam in Bhandara caused the havoc. In both cases, had the government planned ahead, such a situation could have been avoided,” said the BJP leader.
“Prior to the monsoon season, inter-state and intra-state coordination meetings for flood management are held. A disaster management mechanism is put in place. Villagers along river banks are shifted to safer places. None of these were done by the government,” he added.
“Instead, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government is blaming Madhya Pradesh for water discharge from Rajivsagar dam. But who should be held accountable for the water release from Gosikhurd dam in Bhandara?”
While seeking financial assistance from the government, Fadnavis said, “In the past, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had demanded Rs 25,000 per hectare compensation for crop loss and Rs 50,000 per hectare relief for irrigated and non-irrigated land. Today, we expect the CM to provide the same to villagers in the flood-hit districts.”