GUWAHATI, July 27 - The State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for Assam for the current financial year has been increased to Rs 483 crore and there should not be any shortage of funds, at least to provide relief to the affected people. The State Government has also made budgetary allocation to provide its share for the SDRF.
Highly placed sources in the State Disaster Management Authority told The Assam Tribune that the Central Government recently released the first instalment of its share of Rs 217.35 crore for the SDRF and the State Government would have to release its share of Rs 48.30 crore. The budgetary allocation of the State share has already been made and the release of the fund should not be a problem, the sources added.
The sources revealed that the SDRF for the last financial year was Rs 460 crore and the Centre released the first instalment of its share for the current financial year after the money was exhausted. The State Government released funds in advance to the deputy commissioners before floods started wrecking havoc so that immediate action can be taken to provide relief to the affected people. However, due to some technical hitches, there was some delay in release of funds to the newly created districts. But the newly-created districts have also received funds now to provide relief to the flood-hit people, the sources pointed out.
The sources said that earlier, erosion was not included in the list of disasters, but following persistent demand from the Assam Government, the Centre has accepted erosion as �a State-specific disaster� and the people affected by erosion can now also be provided relief under the SDRF. However, the State Disaster Management Authority has sought clarification from the Finance Department whether erosion protection measures can be taken up under the SDRF.
The Disaster Management Authority sources asserted that there is no shortage of foodstuffs in any district as of now. The Government is in constant touch with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to monitor the food stock.
Meanwhile, sources said that the Government of India would release the second instalment of the SDRF only after the first instalment is exhausted and utilisation certificates are submitted. If the entire money is spent, the State Government can apply for additional funds from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). In that case, the Centre sends a high-level team to assess the situation on the ground and grants money on the basis of the report of the team.