GUWAHATI, Oct 1 � Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today assured that the Central Government would provide maximum possible help to the flood hit states of the Northeast and asked the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya to send detailed memorandums on the flood damages and requirements.
Addressing a press conference at the BSF frontier headquarters after reviewing the flood scene in Assam and Meghalaya, the Union Minister said that immediately after receiving the memorandums from the State Governments, an inter-ministerial team of the Centre would be sent to the States for an on the spot assessment. Maximum possible Central assistance would be provided to the States, he added.
Singh said that Assam's State Disaster Response Fund was fixed to the tune of Rs 386 crore and the Government should start spending the amount properly. An additional amount of Rs 286 crore has been sanctioned today and the money would be released soon, he said. He revealed that for Meghalaya, Rs 123 crore was released earlier and an additional amount of Rs 8 crore was sanctioned today, while, for Arunachal Pradesh, Rs 20 crore was released earlier and Rs 20 crore has been sanctioned today.
The Union Minister said according to information available with the Centre, 40 people lost their lives in the floods in Assam, 55 in Meghalaya and 56 were killed in Arunachal Pradesh. He admitted that all these three States suffered badly in floods this year. He said that two Union Ministers � Kiren Rijiju and Sarbananda Sonowal � were sent to the States immediately to assess the situation on the ground and today he visited Garo Hills and made an aerial survey of the affected areas of Assam. He also held talks with the Chief Ministers of both the States to assess the situation.
Singh thanked the social and cultural organisations which helped the Government in assisting the affected people and said that no one should make political issue out of the floods. �I appeal to members of all political parties to extend help to the affected people and not to think of gaining political mileage,� he said.
Replying to a question on whether the Centre would consider floods as a national problem, Singh said that fighting natural disasters is a priority for the Centre and it is on the top of the agenda of the Government. He said that there should be a proper plan for dealing with natural disasters and the Centre is working in this line. He revealed that two new battalions of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) would be raised soon and one of those would be stationed in the Northeast.
On the issue of shortage of boats faced by the rescue teams in Assam, Singh said that the concerned States can buy whatever they need with the disaster response fund. However, the Union Minister refused to be drawn into the controversy on the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi�s comment that the State Government did not get adequate help from the Centre and said, �I do not want to react to any such comment.�