By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Sept 8: Floods in Assam leave none untouched, and there can be no grounds for playing politics with this recurring calamity. Saying so, Governor PB Acharya today sought to put an end to the simmering disagreement between Dispur and New Delhi over funds for flood relief and to find a lasting solution to the devastating deluges in the State, year after year.
Back from an aerial visit to five flood-affected districts in the State, a worried Governor said: “It’s time for helping the flood-affected people. Let there be no politics or debate at this hour of crisis. Let’s be aware of the fact that helping flood-affected people isn’t the responsibility of the Government alone. The onus of helping the flood-affected people lies on everybody — the government, business houses, social organizations, NGOs, student bodies, the Axam Xahitya Xabha and the like. It’s true that Dispur needs more funds for the relief and rescue of the affected people, but it should spend properly the relief funds it has under its disposal. If Dispur can’t spend the flood relief funds it has with it on a war footing, more funds supposed to be pumped in by the Centre will only remain unused in banks. Moreover, spending crores of rupees on short-term measures in the me of flood control doesn’t make much sense. The need of the hour is to think for something lasting, even if it is a long-term measure.”
Saying that he will be leaving soon for New Delhi where he will brief the Prime Minister and the Home Minister on the flood situation in Assam and seek release of more funds for flood relief to the State, Governor Acharya added,“The allocation of SDR Fund for fiscal 2015-16 was Rs 460 crore, and of this the Centre’s share is Rs 414 crore. The Centre has already released 50 per cent of its share, i.e. Rs 207 crore, and wants to release the remaining half in December. However, so far Dispur has released only Rs 104 crore to the departments concerned.”
The Governor further said: “The allegation that the Centre isn’t extending its helping hand to Dispur to tackle the flood situation in the State isn’t true. It is true that Dispur needs more funds to tackle the situation, and it can begin with the funds it has under its disposal. It has to expedite its capacity to spend the funds available under its disposal so that it can spend more funds on a war footing when they are poured in.”
According to official records, the estimated requirement of funds for repair/restoration works in the State so far is Rs 580 crore, the break-up being — Rs 20 crore for repair and restoration of roads and bridges, Rs 257 crore for repair of breaches in embankments, Rs 22 crore for damaged irrigation schemes, Rs 38 crore for damaged houses, Rs 231 crore for damaged crops and desilting, etc.