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'Central flood aid to Orissa inadequate'

LK Advani asks the UPA Government to desist from "discriminating" against the state for political considerations and to focus on long-term flood-control measures for the flood-hit Orissa.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2008 20:00 IST

Terming as "totally inadequate" the Rs 500-crore aid announced by the Centre for flood-hit Orissa, BJP leader LK Advani on Wednesday asked the UPA Government to desist from "discriminating" against the state for political considerations and to focus on long-term flood-control measures.

"The Central government has announced a preliminary assistance of Rs 500 crore which is totally inadequate in view of the extent of damage caused by the floods," he told reporters after making an aerial survey.

Observing that the Orissa Government has submitted a memorandum to the Centre, seeking initial financial assistance of Rs 2,450 crore, Advani said, "I urge the UPA Government not to discriminate against Orissa for political considerations."

The BJP leader alleged that the prime minister had announced Rs 200-crore assistance to Orissa for flood relief last year, but a meagre amount of Rs 5.9 crore was made available.

The former deputy prime minister hoped this time the Central team, which comes to assess the magnitude of damage, would make proper evaluation to enable the state and its people to overcome the tragedy.

The UPA Government should realise that Orissa would require considerable assistance from the Centre for immediate relief operation as well as subsequent rehabilitation and reconstruction measures, he said.

The Centre must focus on long-term flood-control measures in states like Orissa, Bihar and Assam, Advani said.

He claimed that the previous NDA Government had mooted inter-linking of rivers to tackle floods and drought on long- term basis, but the idea failed to make headway during the UPA rule.