NEW DELHI, Sept 4 - The Assam Congress party today lashed out at State BJP leaders, alleging that the Modi Government has discriminated against Assam by withholding release of funds for flood relief and rescue work and reconstruction of embankments.
Briefing newsmen, Congress chief spokesman Ripun Bora singled out Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Sarbananda Sonowal and Lok Sabha MP Kamakhya Prasad Tassa for levelling �baseless allegations� against the State Government�s flood relief work.
While the people in the flood-hit districts continue to suffer, the two parties indulged in a war of words over the relief and rescue works.
Bora charged that Sonowal�s responsibility doesn�t get over by just making aerial surveys, but he should force the Centre to release the necessary funds to the State pending since the last fiscal.
On November 29 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Assam and urged the State Government to submit a detailed memorandum to the Centre. Accordingly, the State Government sought Rs 2534.15 crore from the Central Government for relief and rescue work undertaken during the June-August period. Even Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who later toured Assam, also assured that the funds would be released.
Later, the Centre released Rs 380 crore, which in fact was an adjustment of the NDRF from the SDRF. Assam has been deprived and Sonowal should not try and look for excuses but press the Centre to release the funds.
Bora said the team deputed by the Centre could visit Assam in February to make an assessment of the floods that took place in June-August, 2014. This shows the seriousness of the Narendra Modi Government,� Bora quipped.
Referring to the repair of the embankments, the Congress spokesman said that during the 11th and 12th Five Year Plan, a sum of Rs 1,273 crore was earmarked for the reconstruction of embankments. However, the BJP set the pre-condition for the release of funds on 70:30 basis. Accordingly, the Assam Government released Rs 290 crore but the Centre has not released a single rupee to the State till now. Assam has been discriminated against, Bora said.
Furthermore, the State Government was asked to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the repair of embankments. Accordingly, a DPR of Rs 6,700 crore was prepared and submitted to the Centre, but so far not a single rupee has been released, Bora alleged.
Further attacking Sonowal for accusing the State Government of inaction in the protection of Majuli island, Bora pointed out that the Union Minister should note that the responsibility of protecting the river island is totally with the Brahmaputra Board and the Assam Government has no role to play.
Bora also questioned the silence of the Modi Government in constituting the proposed North East Brahmaputra River Valley Authority, which is to replace the Brahmaputra Board.
Taking on Tassa, the Congress spokesman alleged that the Lok Sabha MP has no knowledge about the Constitution. He has suggested that the flood relief work should be undertaken by using funds from the Chief Minister�s Relief Fund. The MP should note that the CM�s Relief Fund contains meagre funds and is often used to help out patients suffering from diseases like cancer. Flood relief works require huge funding, Bora pointed out.