Dehradun: The government’s alleged mishandling of the situation after the mid-June flash floods is poised to give the ruling party a tough time in the Lok Sabha elections, as the rival parties seem set on using it as their implement of aggression against the Congress.
As per the official data, 4,007 people were killed in the mid-June deluge that left hundreds missing and washed away most of the roads, bridges and houses in the riparian areas.
The Opposition BJP has been alleging that the lives of many who died “without food, water and shelter,” could have been saved, if the government had not been inactive for three days after the disaster struck on June 16.
“The government’s track-record in handling the reconstruction and rehabilitation missions has been poor,” said the Bhartiya Janata Party’s former chief minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishak.
“There has been no progress on that front, so we are going to raise that issue in a big way in the upcoming LS election,” he said on Thursday.
The opposition party would also bring to public scrutiny the circumstances that lead the Congress to replace Vijay Bahuguna with former Union minister Harish Rawat as the chief minister. The changeover is believed to have been triggered by allegations of poor disaster management by the Bahuguna-led government.
CPI-ML (Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist) said it would raise the issue of the relocation of people from about 300 disaster-hit villages. Former Union environment and forest minister Jayanti Natrajan, during her visit to Dehradun in September last year, announced that the residents of all around 300 disaster-hit villages would be relocated, for which land would be identified in reserve forests.
"All the residents have got in the past eight months is one installment or two of the compensation of Rs. 5 lakh to rebuild their damaged houses," said CPI-ML central committee member Raja Bahuguna.
"Those displaced by the flash floods are not being relocated despite a lot of vacant agricultural land available in Terai," he added. Communist Party of India's (CPI) Samar Bhandari criticised the government for "failing to rebuild the route of the Chaar Dham pilgrimage.
AAP leader Shamsher Singh Bisht maintained that the June's disaster was "more of a man-made problem than a natural one, for which the BJP and the ruling Congress share equal blame. "Both these parties ruling the state in different terms since its inception allowed the illegal construction to come up in the riparian areas, which intensified the magnitude of the disaster," he alleged.
The ruling Congress, however, said the rebuilding process was in "full swing" and that the Chaar Dham route would be ready before the annual pilgrimage starts on May 2. Hitting back at the BJP, state Congress spokesperson Surendra Kumar said BJP ruled the state for as many as seven years, yet it failed to build disaster-resistant infrastructure."Otherwise, the state would not have faces the kind of damage it faced last year," he said.