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State Govt asked to push for modification of guidelines

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 26 - Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed today called upon the State government to recommend to the Centre for modification of certain guidelines regarding relief for natural calamities.

Participating in the discussion on Demand for Grants for the Revenue and Disaster Management Department in the Legislative Assembly, Ahmed said that some of the guidelines, mainly dealing with relief and compensation, are not adequate for a State like Assam, which has its own unique geography and topography.

Ahmed said that in Assam�s flood and erosion are the most prominent natural calamities and called for scientific study to deal with the issues on a permanent basis. �Otherwise, a lot of resources are wasted every year on merely reconstruction and repair,� said Ahmed.

He said that since the guidelines had been issued there have been lacunae in implementation of the scheme with regard to relief and rehabilitation. Citing certain examples from his own constituency of Baghbar, Ahmed said that people who were affected by natural calamities as far back as 2015 have not received ex gratia as yet.

�This is happening even as funds sent by the Centre remain unutilised. The State government should be prompt in disbursing ex gratia and take strict action against erring officials,� he said.

He said that as per the guidelines, there is provision for compensation for loss of clothing, utensils and household goods for people affected by natural calamities, but the money under those heads have never been disbursed.

�It�s been almost two years since the BJP government came to power in Assam but during this period it has shown no concern to deal with the problem of erosion,� said Ahmed.

He added, �Work on dredging of the Brahmaputra has been entrusted to the Transport Department? This raises a lot of questions. Why was it not given to the Water Resources Department?� Ahmed cited official data to state that almost 4.3 lakh hectare of landmass of Assam have been lost to erosion since the time of Independence.

He added that funds allotted for repair of flood-damaged roads under the Calamity Relief Fund are not at all adequate considering the geography and climate of Assam and called upon the State government to intervene with the Centre for bringing about modifications in some of the guidelines. Taking part in the discussion, BJP MLA Topon Kumar Gogoi also suggested that the State government should take up the matter regarding the guidelines with the Centre.

He also alleged that at times mandal-level officials and gaon burhas misuse funds meant for calamity-affected families and called for action against such acts.

�We need to create awareness among the people regarding compensation for calamities so that needy people do not remain deprived,� said Gogoi.

He also commended the State government and added that lot of good steps have been initiated by the BJP regime.

Dr Numal Momin of BJP said that the government should formulate a policy not to allow anybody to settle within two km from the banks of the Brahmaputra and within one km from the other rivers. �That can result in reducing losses from natural disasters,� he said.

Mamun Imdadul Haque Chawdhury of the AIUDF, Thaneswar Basumatary (BPF), Chakradhar Gogoi (BJP) and Nizanur Rahman (AIUDF) also took part in the discussion.

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State Govt asked to push for modification of guidelines

GUWAHATI, March 26 - Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed today called upon the State government to recommend to the Centre for modification of certain guidelines regarding relief for natural calamities.

Participating in the discussion on Demand for Grants for the Revenue and Disaster Management Department in the Legislative Assembly, Ahmed said that some of the guidelines, mainly dealing with relief and compensation, are not adequate for a State like Assam, which has its own unique geography and topography.

Ahmed said that in Assam�s flood and erosion are the most prominent natural calamities and called for scientific study to deal with the issues on a permanent basis. �Otherwise, a lot of resources are wasted every year on merely reconstruction and repair,� said Ahmed.

He said that since the guidelines had been issued there have been lacunae in implementation of the scheme with regard to relief and rehabilitation. Citing certain examples from his own constituency of Baghbar, Ahmed said that people who were affected by natural calamities as far back as 2015 have not received ex gratia as yet.

�This is happening even as funds sent by the Centre remain unutilised. The State government should be prompt in disbursing ex gratia and take strict action against erring officials,� he said.

He said that as per the guidelines, there is provision for compensation for loss of clothing, utensils and household goods for people affected by natural calamities, but the money under those heads have never been disbursed.

�It�s been almost two years since the BJP government came to power in Assam but during this period it has shown no concern to deal with the problem of erosion,� said Ahmed.

He added, �Work on dredging of the Brahmaputra has been entrusted to the Transport Department? This raises a lot of questions. Why was it not given to the Water Resources Department?� Ahmed cited official data to state that almost 4.3 lakh hectare of landmass of Assam have been lost to erosion since the time of Independence.

He added that funds allotted for repair of flood-damaged roads under the Calamity Relief Fund are not at all adequate considering the geography and climate of Assam and called upon the State government to intervene with the Centre for bringing about modifications in some of the guidelines. Taking part in the discussion, BJP MLA Topon Kumar Gogoi also suggested that the State government should take up the matter regarding the guidelines with the Centre.

He also alleged that at times mandal-level officials and gaon burhas misuse funds meant for calamity-affected families and called for action against such acts.

�We need to create awareness among the people regarding compensation for calamities so that needy people do not remain deprived,� said Gogoi.

He also commended the State government and added that lot of good steps have been initiated by the BJP regime.

Dr Numal Momin of BJP said that the government should formulate a policy not to allow anybody to settle within two km from the banks of the Brahmaputra and within one km from the other rivers. �That can result in reducing losses from natural disasters,� he said.

Mamun Imdadul Haque Chawdhury of the AIUDF, Thaneswar Basumatary (BPF), Chakradhar Gogoi (BJP) and Nizanur Rahman (AIUDF) also took part in the discussion.

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