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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Uttarakhand disaster be declared national calamity: BJP

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 19, 2013
First Published: 19:52 IST(19/6/2013) | Last Updated: 19:54 IST(19/6/2013)

Claiming that thousands of people have died in floods and landslides in Uttarakhand, BJP on Wednesday demanded that the disaster that struck the hill state be declared a national calamity.

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"We demand that urgent steps be taken to describe this disaster as a national calamity. Adequate attention on war footing be given for rehabilitation and rescue operations," BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi told reporters in Delhi.

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said thousands of people have died in the Uttarakhand floods and has asked Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to use the army for the rescue operations in the state.

"Thousands of people have died and there is no rescue operation," Swaraj said on Twitter.

BJP President Rajnath Singh also expressed concern over the situation in Uttarakhand and appealed to BJP cadres to provide immediate help and assistance to people affected by the massive floods and landslides.

Lekhi said the "abuse and misuse of the system is basically causing damage to the governance structure of the country" and claimed that what has happened in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi also is a result of "misgovernance".

The spokesperson said there was no early warning system and alleged that the guidelines of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) have been violated.

With no let-up in rainfall, the ground conditions and attendant human misery are likely to worsen, revealing the country's lack of flood preparedness, she said.

"The government has been a mute witness to the lack of infrastructure and modern facilities for Hindu pilgrims," she said.

Swaraj discussed the flood situation and the state of the people stranded in parts of Uttarkhand on Tuesday night in a telephone conversation with Shinde.

She said she has requested Shinde to "requisition the army to undertake the rescue operations".

He has assured all help, she said.

Rajnath Singh said on Twitter, "Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are currently facing a national calamity. I urge the Centre and the state governments to provide immediate relief."

Lekhi said as per reports received from the party's state unit, the flashfloods have left a trail of disaster and thousands of people have been killed, with houses and roads washed away.

"There has been no sign of any relief from government sources reaching them, no early warning efforts were launched to minimise the effects of the impending killer torrent.

"Patchy relief and rescue operations, impeded by roads washed away by the swirling waters, were evidence that both state and central authorities failed to implement the NDMA recommendations," Lekhi said.


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