Centre’s flood relief funds meagre: Arunchal CM Pema Khandu
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Wednesday expressed concern over the havoc created by floods and landslides over the past few days, while asserting that district authorities have been asked to provide necessary aid and amenities in affected areas.
Incessant rain over the past couple of days triggered flashfloods and heavy landslides in the hill state, causing major damages to houses, bridges, culverts and roads.
The strategically important Bhalukpong-Charduar-Tawang (BCT) road in West Kameng district remained closed to vehicular movement for the fourth day on Wednesday as landslides have blocked the thoroughfare at several locations.
A 23-year-old woman was reportedly swept away by the flashfloods on Monday and is still untraceable.
During the Zero Hour in the assembly, Khandu admitted that the funds allotted by the Centre for flood relief were insufficient and the state has to send a report of damage assessment to receive the financial support.
“The deputy commissioners of all districts send reports of flood damages to the state government, which is then compiled and forwarded to the Centre in the form of a memorandum.
“The Centre then deputes a team to assess flood damages in the state. The central government allots funds only after receiving a report from the team,” the chief minister said while replying to a question by Congress MLA Ninong Ering on the steps being taken to tackle disasters.
The district authorities and officials have been asked to maintain vigil to “prevent loss of life”, while reaching out to those affected in the calamity with necessary aid and amenities, the CM said.
Later in the day, a press release issued by Khandu’s office said all government departments have been told to coordinate and work out an emergency mitigation plan under the supervision of the chief secretary.
He also said the Disaster Management Department has been asked to ensure that district administrations provide relief materials, essential commodities and drinking water to flood-affected people.
“Precautionary measures should be taken to avoid casualties. If the need arises, defence sorties will be put into service for air-dropping of ration commodities to the areas where surface communication has been disrupted,” the release said quoting Khandu.
The CM also maintained that the Finance Department has been asked to allocate additional funds to the Disaster Management Department for mitigating the crisis.
“Water supply and electricity and all other basic services will be restored as soon as the weather conditions improve,” he said.
Expressing sorrow over the report of a missing person, Khandu said the West Kameng deputy commissioner has been asked to involve personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) in the search and rescue operation.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)