The government proposes to fund a permanent solution to floods in the Northeast including Assam, the Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday. Replying to a calling attention motion on the problem of floods in various parts of the country, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju also rejected claims of opposition that the government has failed to respond to the “annual feature” of floods in time and gives little financial assistance to states to deal with the calamity.
Initiating the discussion, Gaurav Gogoi (Cong) alleged that the government was in deep slumber like the mythological ‘Kumbhkaran’ and fails to take quick action when calamity like floods hits various parts of the country. He said as per a revised formula, the financial liability of the states has increased in tackling floods.
He claimed that the central government has ignored its responsibility and even the CAG has criticised the flood management programme. Saugata Roy (TMC) alleged that while funds for BJP-ruled Gujarat and Assam were released, no provision was granted for West Bengal. “We feel there is political discrimination,” he said.
Rijiju said the Centre does not discriminate and two installments of state disaster response fund have already to given to the state. For desilting of the Damodar river, another Rs 130 crore have been given to the state government.
He said the state has to first submit a memorandum to the Centre to get funds for floods and added that the document is yet to be submitted. The floods have so far claimed 962 lives. While 206 people have been injured, 23 are reported to be missing, Rijiju said.
The minister also rejected suggestions that the government’s response to floods was often delayed and said the constant practice is to ensure that rescue is followed by relief and rehabilitation.
He said Rs 100 crore has been earmarked to find a permanent solution to floods in the northeast region. Experts will help find a solution, he said.