Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday said the Centre has not released the sanctioned Rs 387.2 crore under the NDRF for carrying out rehabilitation and restoration works after the last year’s floods in the state.
Speaking at a press conference, Gogoi said he had written two letters to the Prime Minister and Home Minister last month, raising the issue.
“After last year’s devastating floods, we had sought assistance of Rs 2,485 crore in our memorandum to the Centre.
The inter-ministerial team recommended Rs 414.39 crore, but the Centre sanctioned Rs 387.2 crore,” he said.
“…even the sanctioned funds have not been released so far,” he had written in the letter to the Prime Minister on August 26, which was made available to the media.
Gogoi refuted claims of Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal that the Centre released Rs 1,655 crore during the beginning of this fiscal, of which Rs 1,400 crore were still unspent.
The State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) has received Rs 207 crore from the Centre against the state’s share of Rs 230 crore for the first installment during the current fiscal.
“Annual allocation for the SDRF for 2015-16 is Rs 460 crore, of which the Central share is Rs 414 crore and state’s share is Rs 46 crore. We will receive the second installment of this fund in October,” he said.
The Chief Minister also said the state government has not received the pending Rs 1,273 crore from Water Resources Ministry for implementing various projects.
“We have not got any special flood fund under the NDRF. Whatever amount we have received so far is under the SDRF and was allocated by the Finance Commission. So the fund under the SDRF is anyway supposed to come to all states,” he said.
Gogoi said the state has enough funds for relief work, but Central assistance was needed for rehabilitation and restoration activities.
On the current flood situation, he said it was gradually improving although over ten lakh people were still affected across the state.
“As of now, 1,072 villages across 16 districts are still affected. This year, 62 people have lost their lives in floods in Assam,” Gogoi said.
Talking about the recent issue of allowing refugees to stay after the expiry of their visas, the Chief Minister welcomed the step.
“In fact, this was my proposal in 2012 sent to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him to allow all people migrating to India under religious compulsions to stay here. The NDA government, for obvious reasons, has made it for non-Muslims,” he added.