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Lalu to seek central aid for flood victims

He undertakes an aerial survey of flood-hit districts to take stock of the situation and submit a report to the Centre, reports Anirban Guha Roy.

india Updated: Aug 01, 2007 22:09 IST
Anirban Guha Roy

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad undertook an aerial survey of the flood-affected districts on Wednesday to take stock of the situation and submit a report to the Centre. He also surveyed the damages caused to the railway tracks in the flood-affected districts, where train services have been suspended.

Accusing the state government of adopting an apathetic attitude in carrying out the rescue and relief operations in the flood hit areas, Lalu said that it was quite surprising that the state administration was sitting idle despite lakhs of people reeling under the impact of floods.

“For the past one week, there has been no effort to distribute relief material to the marooned villagers in the 12 north Bihar districts,” he said.

Lalu also took exception to the state government’s failure to approach the central government for necessary help stating that there was a full fledged disaster management authority under the union home ministry equipped with trained personnel, helicopters and motorised boats to help the states in times of natural calamities.

“No request has been made by the state government for assistance from the authority despite the flood situation turning grim in Bihar,” he stressed.

The RJD chief also assailed the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for going on an official tour to Mauritius despite the state reeling under the impact of floods.

“Nitish’s decision to go to Mauritius at a time when the state is facing severe floods only shows his insensitivity towards the poor masses,” he said, adding that he was not trying to politicise the issue, but only projecting the government’s approach towards handling the grim flood situation.

Lalu said that floods had badly damaged the railway tracks with train services in Darbhanga-Sitamarhi, Darbhanga-Samastipur and Darbhanga-Madhubani sections suspended. “I have asked the officials to repair the tracks and restore traffic on the affected routes at the earliest,” the railway minister said.

Earlier, state president of the RJD, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, while addressing a press conference, said the RJD workers would stage a demonstration in all blocks and sub-divisional headquarters on Wednesday and Thursday to press for distribution of relief material among the flood victims.

Siddiqui also criticised the Chief Minister for going to Mauritius when the state was reeling under the impact of floods.