CPI(M) asks Centre to take up Bihar flood issue with Nepal PM

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New Delhi, Sep 11 (UNI) Stressing the need to intensify the countrywide relief and rehabilitation work for over two million flood-affected people of Bihar, the CPI(M) today urged the Centre to utilise the coming visit of Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda to work out more effective water management system between the two countries.

''This is the first official visit of Mr Prachanda to New Delhi after becoming the PM and it must be utilised to find ways and means to prevent recurrence of such calamity,'' said an editorial in the People's Democracy of the CPI (M).

It also urged the Central and state governments to intensify voluntary contributions for urgent relief work for the affected people.

''The country must rise as one to help Bihar to overcome this tragedy because the affected people would have to live in relief camps for another four to five months as water would take time to recede,'' it added.

After an aerial survey, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed the disaster as a national calamity and announced a relief of Rs 1,000 crores besides 1.25 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains to the state, the editorial said.

''It is precisely to handle such disasters that the UPA government, soon after assuming office in 2004, constituted the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Unfortunately, besotted by bureaucratic wrangling and lack of direction and vision, the NDMA has not been able to rise to the occasion.'' the CPI (M) said.

When the flood broke out on 18 August, the state government presumed that it was normal annual flood that wreak havoc every year in northern Bihar. Only a week later did the realisation came that the matter was more serious.

Though the embankment is located in Nepal, its maintenance through a treaty was given to India.

The Centre, in turn, vested this responsibility with the Bihar government and its irrigation department.

While the Bihar government is blamed, its local engineers claimed to have sent letters to Delhi in April, warning of the need to reinforce the embankment. The political uncertainties in Nepal, at that time, are blamed by suggesting that Indian engineers and workers were not allowed to do their work.

This cynical blame game should stop immediately and all concerned must act in unison to tackle this catastrophe and provide relief to the people, the party added.

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