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GH flood: Centre grants only Rs 100 cr

From CK Nayak

New Delhi: More than six months after severe floods and cyclones hit the Garo Hills of Meghalaya the Center has sanctioned only about  Rs 100 crore till date from the Union funds against a demand of Rs.3,072 crore and washed off its hands saying disaster management is the responsibility of the State government.
This was intimated to the lone Rajya Sabha member from Meghalaya  Wansuk Syiem who had vociferously raised unprecedented devastation in the Garo Hills on the floor of the House.
A high-level inter-ministerial committee which had visited the affected state held a meeting few weeks ago and had approved Rs.72.82 crore from  National Disaster Response Fund.
This was informed by Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju in a letter to Syiem received on Saturday.
An amount of Rs 15 crore was also released form Special Component   of National Rural Drinking Water Programme, Rijiju said in the letter.
Incidentally, Rijiju had himself visited the flood ravage state in November followed by a stock taking by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Both had assured that sufficient money will be released to the state.  “I will ensure that a good amount will be given to Meghalaya,” Rijiju had said.
Rijiju quoting the State Government figures also pointed out that Rs.114.57 crore was available under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) at the end of the last financial year 2013-14. On top of it the Centre’s share of Rs 8.015 crore under the SDRF for the year 2014 and 2015 each has already been released in August last year, he said.
But all put together Meghalaya got only around Rs 100 crore as flood assistance against a demand of Rs.3,072 crore.
Wansuk had pointed out in the Upper House that due to the absence of adequate relief and rehabilitation hundreds of people were still suffering during the harsh winter. The State Government with its limited capacity is trying its best to mitigate the plight of the affected people but that is not enough, she had said.
But the Union Minster made it clear that rehabilitation of families affected by the natural calamity is required to be undertaken by the state Government from its own resources and plan funds. “Primary responsibility of disaster management rests with the state Government,” Rijiju said in the letter.

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