GUWAHATI: It remains a mystery as to why funds meant for people living in areas ravaged by natural calamities across Assam remain unused. The State Disaster Management Fund (SDRF) is an example. It is meant to be utilized for restoration and repair of various projects including embankments and roads in the flood-hit areas of the State. The fund is in the ratio of 90:10 with the Centre bearing the lion’s share and the State Government having the lesser share. However, it has been found that very few such projects get completed before the onslaught of the successive rainy season. This was the case during the time of the previous Congress regimes. Sadly enough, it remains the same even during the present dispensation too.
The approval for such schemes is accorded by a State Executive Committee headed by the Chief Secretary as its chairman. “Late administrative approval by the Revenue and Disaster Management department and incomplete proposals from implementing departments (Water Resources, PWD among others)” has been identified as the reason for the delay in implementation of these projects that mean a lot for the residents of such flood-ravaged areas. The projects are implemented by various departments.
As per official data, during the financial year of 2018-2019, altogether 168 schemes worth Rs 250 crore were given approval for the Water Resources department. However, administrative approval has been accorded with respect to 75 per cent of those schemes while “owing to certain technical reasons” such approval is pending for the remaining 25 per cent of the approved schemes. The monsoon season in Assam generally sets in April when construction or repair of embankments and roads would not be possible.
Similar is the situation in the PWD department where repair or construction of roads in the flood-affected areas has fallen behind schedule. This is despite the fact that for the fiscal 2018-19, schemes worth Rs 75 crores were approved. However, the administrative nod is yet to be given for many such projects.
The Central Government allocation under SDRF work in Assam for 2018-19 was Rs 532 crore. It also released Rs 239.40 crore as the second installment recently.
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