Bihar CM urges Planning Commission release funds for flood relief

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New Delhi, Oct 6 (UNI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today urged Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia for the early release of Rs 17000 crore for the victims of the devastating floods in the state so that the relief work does not suffer.

Mr Kumar told Mr Ahluwalia that he has already talked to Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil in this regard and even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has had assured Parliament that all possible help would be extended to the state.

The Chief Minister asked for Rs 17,000 crore assistance at the CRF's revised norms on the patterns of assistance extended to Tsunami and Latur quake affected victims. Of this amount, a plan of 12000 crores is meant for long term inter-linking&desilting of rivers and reconstruction of roads and Rs 4,200 crores for the reconstruction of damaged houses.

Presenting a copy of the 'Special Assistance Plan for Bihar flood' prepared by the state government to Mr Ahluwalia, the Chief Minister said that 28 out of 38 districts of the state were affected by the flood. The state government was vigorously pursuing the relief work on its own and will continue till the end of this month.

About seven lakh houses were damaged during the calamity, he said and asked for larger coverage of house reconstructions under "Indira Awas Yojana." However, according to Mr Kumar, help only through this very scheme would not serve the basic purpose. He asked for an assistance of Rs. 50,000 to 60,000 thousand to the family in each damaged house. He further said that if such assistance is not possible, then a loan of same amount on easy terms could be appreciated.

The past experiences showed that earthquakes follow the devastating floods, he pointed out and stressed the need for quake-resistant houses to be built. To avoid fake claims on the basis of damage to their houses, digital photography of damaged houses has been done, he said.

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