GUWAHATI, March 6 � Though erosion has become a major problem for Assam, it is still not considered as a natural disaster. This was disclosed by Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Prithibi Majhi in reply to a question by Abdur Rahman Ajmal (AIUDF) in the State Assembly today.
The Minister said that as per the guidelines of the Government of India for management of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), erosion is not considered to be a natural disaster. He said that is why there is no provision for giving rehabilitation grant to the erosion-affected people from the SDRF.
Majhi said that the inhabitants of Government land are also not eligible for rehabilitation grants. But the Deputy Commissioners have been directed to allot Government land to landless people as per land policy. He also said that the people of surveyed villages in the char areas are given land pattas.
During the period from 2006-07 to 2011-12, an amount of Rs 1481.63 crore has been spent on post-disaster relief, recovery and rehabilitation, said the Minister.
Meanwhile, it is clear that the State Government does not have the details of landless and homeless people as well as of the volume of land washed away by rivers in different parts of the state. In a written reply to a question by Phani Bhushan Choudhury (AGP), the Revenue Minister said that the Government has details of landless people of 15 districts and that homeless people of five districts. He also admitted of the Government has records of erosion in nine districts.
The Minister said that rehabilitation of the landless and homeless people is a continuous process and steps are being taken to set up a rehabilitation authority to expedite the process. He said that the Government is also planning to construct shelter homes.
On the other hand, Minister in charge of Water Resources, Rajiv Lochan Pegu said that the department has taken up 47 schemes with an expenditure of Rs 444.85 crore for anti-erosion measures on the Brahmaputra river during the 11th Five Year Plan. The State Government has also forwarded schemes worth Rs 1351.93 crore to the Government of India.