NEW DELHI, Aug 8 - The Centre has stopped short of declaring floods as a national problem stating that it can at best be described as �calamity of severe nature�.
The government has adjudged flood as a calamity of �severe nature� in terms of operational guidelines of 2015-16 for constitution and administration of the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
�The Centre has released immediate relief assistance by way of advance grants by relaxing the prescribed conditions. There has been no delay in sanctioning of funds,� said Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju in reply to a Lok Sabha question by Sushmita Dev and Thokchom Meinya.
Last week, in Rajya Sabha, Rijiju had ruled out the possibility of the Centre declaring floods as a national problem. The minister was replying to a Calling Attention Motion in the House moved by Ripun Bora. About the demands put forward by Congress MPs Ripun Bora and Bhubaneswar Kalita to declare floods as a national problem, Rijiju had said all problems are national problems.
In case of this year�s floods in the northeastern states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur, the Central government has taken the required steps in extending timely support to the state governments, Rijiju said.
In reply to a separate question by Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, the minister said according to information received from the Government of Assam, 29 of the 33 districts have been affected due to heavy flood and erosion during this monsoon season. As on August 6, 84 people have lost their lives and 25.42 lakh people have been affected by the floods.
As per the National Disaster Management Policy, the primary responsibility for disaster management rests with the states. The prevention and rehabilitation of flood-affected people in flood-prone areas is to be undertaken by the concerned state government from its own resources and Plan funds. The state government should provide relief assistance and look for suitable land to rehabilitate the flood-affected people as per its existing land policy.
The state governments have been taking necessary rescue, relief and prevention measures in the affected areas which include evacuation of people to safer places, operation of relief camps, cattle camps and providing essential commodities. They are also taking necessary steps to prevent any epidemic during floods and post-flood period.
The National Disaster Management Authority has prepared guidelines on flood management and assisted state governments in the preparation of their flood management plans. It has provided an amount of Rs 61.4 lakh to the Government of Assam in 2015-16 for strengthening of the State Disaster Management Authority.