Assailing Bihar's NDA government for scanty relief, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Thursday demanded that relief operations for the flood victims be handed over to the Army.
"One month has gone by since the Kosi river burst its embankment flooding vast areas in north-eastern Bihar but the state government has not been able to streamline its relief operations, which should now be handed over to the Army," he said, addressing flood victims at Kataiya in Supaul district.
Lalu visited relief camps at Kataiya and Ratanpura along with Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Rabri Devi and Union ministers Premchand Gupta and Jaiprakash Narain Yadav.
He said had the Centre not despatched the Army to begin relief and rescue operations, innumerable lives would have been lost.
The Railway Minister also visited the camp of the Army Engineering Corps (64 regiment) at Ganpatganj and lauding their role in evacuating the marooned people, announced a cash reward of Rs 11 lakh from the Railways.
Colonel Pradeep Sharma informed the minister that his unit had evacuated over 6,000 people, of whom 60 were sick.
"Don't buy tickets for travelling to Delhi, Punjab and Haryana... We have made your travels free," he told the flood victims taking shelter on a canal.
Lalu also visited a mosque at Singheshwar in adjoining Madhepura district where he met the Imam and handed over Rs 15,000 for providing food to the flood victims during Iftar and Sihri, the period when Muslims break their fast during the holy month of Ramzan.