Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has sought Central assistance of Rs 8,600 crore to expedite relief operations. He had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday in New Delhi.
During his 30-minute meeting with the PM, Kumar briefed him about the extensive damages caused by the flood and the relief and rescue operations being carried out by the State Government. He requested the Prime Minister to help the State Government in getting packages from the Asian Development Bank and other financial institutions.
He also stressed on the need to find a permanent solution to the problem of recurrent flood, which cut a swathe of destruction across a large part of the State every year. For this, he suggested formation of a long-term strategic group, comprising representatives of different ministries and government of Bihar. “The group, in addition to finding a permanent solution to the problem of flood problem, should initiate talks with the Nepal Government on raising the heights of dams,” he said.
Kumar demanded an additional quota of 30 lakh quintals of wheat and rice so that every affected family was given 50 kilograms of wheat and rice. He also requested release of additional 180 lakh litres of kerosene due to meet acute shortage of fuel in the flood-hit areas.
Briefing the PM about the damages to houses in the flood-hit areas, the Chief Minister placed a demand of Rs 5,000 crore for their reconstruction and repair and sought more relief for marginal farmers following large-scale damage to standing crops. “The input subsidy should be raised from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 for such farmers,” he said.
Kumar informed the PM that the State Government, as a short-term measure had decided to repair the dams with its own resources. “The State Government has earmarked Rs 212 crore for the purpose but we expect that the Centre will also help us in this work,” he said.
The PM was also briefed about the road construction work in the State. Kumar told him that State Government was set to spend Rs 1,600 crore on road projects in the next five years, of which Rs 150 crore was to be spent this fiscal.
He said that the State was trying its best to provide relief to the flood-affected people to the extent permitted by its limited resources and requested the PM to provide relief under FRBM for a year and re-allocation of loans for the next one year.
Kumar hoped that with the help of Central assistance and by adopting other measures, the State Government would be able to ride out the present situation and initiate projects for a better future.