04 Jul 2012, New Delhi : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National General Secretary and Prabhari for Assam Shri Vijay Goel, and National General Secretary Shri Tapir Gaon, criticised the Congress-led UPA Government, both at the Centre and the state of Assam, for their ‘token gesture’ to the flood situation in Assam. This year Assam has had a devastating flood, the most-damaging since 2004, that has lead to over 20 lakh people being rendered homeless and close to 100 dead. The Congress leadership at the Centre woke up only after BJP’s national leadership made an extensive visit to the flood-affected areas.
On the 1st of July, National General Secretaries Shri Vijay Goel and Smt Kiran Maheshwari, and Member of Parliament Shri Rajendra Agarwal visited Assam. The team visited several places in the worst-affected Kamrup and Morigaon districts in lower Assam, and Dibrugarh in upper Assam. Addressing the media in Delhi today, Shri Goel said that he witnessed first-hand the extensive damage to standing crops, the laying waste of agricultural land by sand deposited by the river, carcasses of dead animals floating around, lack of medicines in relief camps, and general mismanagement in the camps.
Seeing the extent of damage, the Government should have reacted faster and with more compassion. Shri Goel said that the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) was only marginally effective in saving lives and responding to calls for relief. With the Chief Minister away to the US for most of the past week, there was a definite lack of leadership and focus in the coordination of the disaster relief efforts.
Shri Goel also criticized the amount of interim relief proposed by the Central Government. The amount of Rs 500 crore announced by the Prime Minister is ‘too little’ even for relief, what to talk of rehabilitation and reconstruction. The general Government guideline provides for Rs 10000 as relief for those whose houses have been fully damaged and Rs 5000 for those that have suffered partial damage. Shri Goel demanded that this amount be raised to Rs 50000 and Rs 25000 respectively.
Shri Goel also criticized the Central Government for going back on its promise to declare floods in Assam as a ‘national problem’. The Congress-led UPA Government has been in power at the Centre for now 8 year, in Assam for 11 years. Yet they have been unable to come up with a permanent solution to the problem of floods in Assam. Each year there is a flood in Assam—minor or major—and each year the Central Government announced interim and permanent relief. While thousand of crores have been sunk into providing flood relief, the Government has yet to think of a permanent solution.
Shri Goel declared that BJP would take up Assam floods as a core issue and setting up a permanent group to monitor the activities of the Government, and propose alternate solutions. Shri Goel announced that Shri Prodyut Bora, State General Secretary of BJP Assam Pradesh, would head the group.
(O.P. KOHLI)Headquarter Incharge