Modi’s visit and the review

Guwahati/ 3rd August’2017 (Prag News Desk):  Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the damage caused by the recent floods in the state and the relief measures being taken. PM Modi’s visit comes amid criticism by Opposition parties alleging that Centre was apathetic towards the flood situation in the north-eastern state.

This came as a reply to the alleged accusation of the opposition Congress, as well as student bodies like the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) who had hit out at PM Modi for not visiting the flood-hit Assam. In a round table conference, the Centre has announced compensation of Rs. two lakh each under the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the relatives of people killed and Rs. 50,000 to seriously injured persons in the recent flood in Assam.
The Prime Minister will hold three meetings with the Chief Ministers of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh before flying back to Delhi in the evening. Manipur and Arunachal have also been hit by flash floods and landslides. Mizoram and Nagaland Chief Ministers have also been called for the meeting.

The floods in Assam this year claimed 83 lives and affected over 20 lakh people in 29 of the state’s 32 districts.

 State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that the prime minister’s visit is mainly to find a permanent solution to the flood problem that Assam is facing at the moment.

The PMO had requested Assam government to furnish details of requirement of funds along with list incorporating the names of the dead in flood, their next of kin and seriously injured persons.

A seven-member inter-ministerial central team had visited Assam on July 25 for four days to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of flood damage.

This includes the Centre’s budgetary allocation of Rs 50 crore each for floodlight and road works along the Indo-Bangladesh border for the financial year 2017-18. Till the present day, the expenditures to the tune of Rs 7.97 crore for roads and Rs 6.06 crore for floodlights have been incurred by construction agencies along the Indo-Bangladesh border, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said in reply to a question by Congress MP Ranee Narah.

There are a total of 1,181 border outposts along the Indo-Bangladesh border. About a 3,000-km stretch along the border has been covered by physical barriers. The rest of the border is covered by day and night patrolling with usage of force multipliers like high-tech surveillance equipment, the minister said.

Prime Minister Modi, who was on a day- long visit to Guwahati on Tuesday to take stock of the situation arising out of the floods, Chief Minister Biren Singh said that he urged the PM to review the Loktak project for a permanent solution of the frequent floods in the State.

Ithai barrage which has become the main cause of flood in the State should be removed and natural water course maintained, he felt.

The Loktak multipurpose project was taken up in 1983 to provide regulated storage to generate 105 MW of power and lift irrigation.The main component of the project include Ithai barrage (35ft high dam) across Manipur river with three spillway bays.

During the meet, the Chief Minister expressed his desire for dredging the river beds of all the rivers in the State and to conduct eviction drives against the encroachments on the banks of the rivers. Sonowal further replied to the question by opposition Congress MLA N Loken in the ongoing Assembly session on Wednesday that the total damages inflicted by the recent floods in Manipur has been estimated at Rs 223.83 crore which has been further increased to Rs 358.23 crore. A memorandum has been submitted to Centre for providing flood assistance, he said.

He also informed that a total of 1,850 family tents, 42 numbers of disposable toilet tents, 172 numbers of bath toilets and 3,400 number of LED lanterns have been provided to the Deputy Commissioners. Materials such as rice, dal, edible oil, candles, mosquito coils, sugar, salt, biscuits, tea bags, etc., have been procured by the Deputy Commissioners and provided to the affected people.

However, the State Accountant General (AG) of Assam has reported that the The Assam government may have been clamouring for additional funds to provide flood relief, but it had Rs 2,790 crore in its coffers as on April 1.

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