New Delhi, Sept.2 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today appealed to the UPA Government to change the way it dealt with natural calamities like floods and earthquakes.
In a letter written to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, BJP President Rajnath Singh said that the existing stipulation that Members of Parliament are not allowed to use MPLAD funds outside their constituencies should be relaxed as a special case.
Singh further went on to add that such a step was taken during the time of the Gujarat earthquake in January 2001 and again during the Asian Tsunami in December 2004.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad today announced that he was donating Rs.25 lakh to the Bihar Chief Minister's Relief Fund to help the flood victims in that state. He also endorsed the party's view that lawmakers should be allowed to use their funds to help the flood victims in Bihar.
Over three lakh people are still marooned in remote locations of Bihar. The floods have affected over 2.5 million people in 1,598 villages spread over 15 districts of the state.
The Army has carried out massive rescue and relief operations in the flood affected districts of Bihar and a large number of marooned people have been evacuated to safer places. About 20,000 to 25,000 people are being evacuated daily, said Colonel Raj Shukla, who is in charge of coordinating the relief operations.
The BJP missive came as the Central Government blamed the Bihar Government for not sending a scheme for works to be executed on the damaged dams on the Nepal section of the Kosi river.
The Centre claimed that it was only informed on August 18 that erosions were taking place at the Kosi dam in Upper Nepal on Bahothal for the past several days. Union Minister of State for water Resources Jaiprakash Yadav said on board a special train here that just the day before, he had received a report from the State Government that said all embankments were safe.
"We sanctioned about Rs 80 lakh for the repair of the embankment and I was asked by Lalu Prasad to rush to Bihar to prepare the assessment report," Yadav said.
On his return to New Delhi after an aerial survey of flood-hit areas in Bihar, Yadav met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to inform them of the situation.
The Ministry of Water Resources Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC) Director Co-ordination S S Chaudhary had written to the engineer-in-chief (North) Water Resource Department of Bihar on April 1, asking about flood protection works on the Kosi being done on the recommendations of Kosi High-Level Committee (KHLC), Yadav said.
"The estimate/scheme framed by the state government as per recommendations of KHLC for the works to be taken up in Nepal portion before the floods of this year was not received in S S Chaudhary's office," he added.
"It was also requested that a copy of the estimate/scheme duly approved by competent authority together with relevant drawings for the work to be done on river Kosi in Nepal portion on the recommendation KHLC for the protection works before the flood of 2008," he said.
Two reminders were sent, on April 25 and June 12, from Chaudhary's office in reference to his earlier letter asking for a copy of the scheme approved by the competent authority, Yadav said adding the Centre wanted the information but did not receive it.
On August 15, a report stating that all the embankments in Bihar were safe was received by the Union Ministry for Water Resources.
There were indications of some rise in swirling waters 543-569 centimetres above the danger mark at Basua at Kursela, Yadav said.
Subsequently on August 16, another report on embankment position said the water-level had reached 39 cm and 74 cm above the danger-mark at Basua and Kursela and the river was flowing 21 cm below the danger mark at Malda. (ANI with inputs)