Fire-fighting in flood-hit Bihar over;focus now on rehab

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New Delhi, Sep 5 (UNI) The Union government today said fire-fighting part of the crisis in flood-hit Bihar is almost over and the focus now has to be on the rehabilitation and rebuilding process.

Stating this after reviewing the situation at an inter-ministeral meeting of the National Executive Committee attended also by Bihar's officials here, Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said that with the evacuation of around 10 lakh people, the job was over.

Of them, 3 lakh people were in relief camps, 257 of which were operational and 3 mega camps were being planned at three district headquarters.

Underlining the need to focus on the twin issues of drinking water and sanitation, Mr Gupta said it required ground level assessment and solution by experts.

However, 610 hand pumps had been installed in the camps and toilets and other sanitary facilities were being provided.

Government said 300 tonnes of medicines were sent to Bihar yesterday and vaccination at the camps will start shortly. It said 600 tonnes of GI sheets had also been sent for providing tented accommodation to victims.

Petroleum Ministry has provided additional 10,000 kilolitres of Kerosene and will give LPG free to relief camps.

A Defence Ministry official said armed forces had so far conducted 600 sortis and distributed 2,000 tonnes of ration to the affected people. He said 5,000 defence personnel were deployed and 38 mobile medical teams were operating.

Rural Development Ministry has allotted 58,000 additional Indira Awas Yojana units to Bihar for flood-hit people.

The Home Secretary suggested setting up of two task forces by Bihar government to assess and provide relief under the relaxed provisions of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). One task force should focus on rural roads to ensure early connectivity and the other on employment.

The government, he said, had relaxed NREGA's norms allowing work to people even at place of temporary stay.

The government said 2,000 kms of road haD been taken up for upgradation in the affected areas.

The Home Secretary advised Water Resources Ministry and Bihar government to expedite plugging of the Kosi breach.

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