Guwahati, July 13: The politics over floods in Assam started on Wednesday as the opposition Congress hit out at the Narendra Modi government for its "step-motherly" treatment towards providing rescue and relief measures to the victims.
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments--both at the Centre and the state--Congress leaders of Assam questioned why PM Modi never visited Assam during floods in the last three years.
Every year, during monsoon the state is hit by floods. However, this time the damage caused by the floods is unprecedented. The death toll in the current wave of flood in the state now stands at 45.
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Bora in a press meet in Guwahati on Wednesday said, "Our state witnesses a serious flood scenario almost every year but the Modi government that promised achhe din (good times) showed no sincerity towards the problem.
Modi had visited Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Tamil Nadu during the floods but he did not visit Assam in the past three years. Only Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh made an aerial survey for two hours during the last year's floods. No special package has been announced for Assam. The Centre has not cleared the funding proposal of Rs 1,200 crore submitted during 2015-16 when the Congress government was in power in the state. Another proposal of Rs 1,000 crore, submitted by the state government last year, is also awaiting clearance."
The leaders of the Congress from the state on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to PM Modi, seeking his intervention as the state government "failed miserably" to control the floods and provide relief to the victims. In the memorandum, the Congress urged the PM to rush a central team of ministers and officials to Assam.
"No central minister has visited the state yet although 40 people have died and over 15 lakh people have been affected in over 3,000 villages in 23 districts till Wednesday. The water level has crossed the danger mark in several rivers but the state machinery has failed to reach out to the flood victims with relief materials.
Owing to a lack of a contingency plans by the state government, there is no drinking water, baby food or medical teams in the affected areas. During Congress rule, we had a contingency plan to tackle such situations but the BJP government has failed to draft such a plan and, therefore, people are suffering more this time," Bora said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told reporters that the Centre is providing all necessary help to fight against the floods. "We have enough funds to deal with the current flood situation," the CM said.
"CM Sonowal on Monday said funds of Rs 62 crore has been released for flood relief but the deputy commissioners and circle officers are unable to spend the money because of lack of proper co-ordination with the state government," Pradyut Bordoloi, another senior Congress leader, said.
A statement issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) on Wednesday said PM Modi has expressed his anguish over the flood situation in various parts of the Northeast.
"I am anguished by the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the Northeast. I share the pain of all those affected by the floods. The entire nation stands with the people of the Northeast during this time.
The Centre assures of extending all possible help to normalise the situation. I have spoken to Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu and other officials both in New Delhi and in the region on the flood situation. I have also asked my colleague Kiren Rijiju to personally supervise the rescue and relief operations and facilitate all possible help needed," the statement quoting the PM said.