Lack of readiness for floods
GUWAHATI: It’s a fact that the Centre has not paid even an additional penny to Assam to fight floods. However, it is also the ground reality that Dispur has not been able to spend the usual funds, which it gets from the Centre annually, on time.
The statistics obtained from the departments concerned in the State corroborate this fact.
The State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) started fiscal 2018-19 with an opening balance of Rs 198 crore. With the Centre pumping in Rs 239 crore, which is 50 per cent of its annual allocation to the SDRF, the amount rose to Rs 437 crore. Till four-five days before the Durga Puja, only Rs 114 crore could be spent from the SDRF, leaving Rs 323 crore with it. The total Central allocation for SDRF for this fiscal is Rs 532 crore. SDRF funds are pumped in the 90:10 funding pattern by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. By December this year, the remaining Rs 239 crore is supposed to be poured in by the Centre. This is over and above the 10 per cent share of SDRF funds from Dispur.
This makes it crystal clear that the departments concerned manned by some lazy bones have not been able to spend funds so as to complete projects on schedule. Such an inability on their part makes the people of the State face the wrath of floods year in, year out.
The State Revenue and Disaster Management Department sanctioned around Rs 250 crore to the Water Resource Department for flood-control schemes and around Rs 70 crore to the PWD for the same purpose. These two departments have a number of projects yet to be completed. During or after every flood in Assam central teams do come and assess the flood damage. Last year also, such teams did visit the State and assess the damage, but the Centre opted not to pay even a penny of the additional fund to the State for fighting the flood.