Aid okay, but rescue more vital in Bihar: Sharad Yadav

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Nagpur, Aug 29 (UNI) Janata Dal (U) president and former union minister Sharad Yadav today said the rescue of the people caught in the floods in Bihar was more important at present than release of aid.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr Yadav said the Centre must arrange boats to rescue lakhs of people, who have been stranded in the floods there.

''Some boats have been pressed into service, but the resources of the state government are limited. The situation is so grim that at least a hundred boats must be deployed in every tehsil. Boats must be sent from all parts of the country,'' he said.

The floods had been caused by breaches in the Kosi embankments at several points near the Indo-Nepal border with the river changing its natural course, thereby inundating large areas of human habitation, Mr Yadav said.

''The floods are unprecedented in the country's history. The situation is worsening with the water level having already risen by three inches. It could aggravate further if there are more rains,'' he said.

It was unfortunate that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi had undertaken only an aerial survey of the situation, Mr Yadav said, adding that he had travelled as far as he could by road and found people screaming to be saved.

Replying to questions, Mr Yadav said any elected representative who changed parties in the middle of his term should be banned from holding any office for two years. The duration of the ban could vary, but the person must not be allowed to contest an election for that period, he said.

Mr Yadav said the incumbent United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was surviving not on majority, but on the strength of horse-trading. Some kind of bribe was given or temptations offered to at least 19 members of the Lok Sabha, he alleged.

The Janata Dal (U) president, who is here on a private visit, said he would rush to Bihar straight from the city in view of the flood situation there.

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