Maha order for financial aid in flood affected areas creates ripples

Friday, 9 August 2019

"Had Fadnavis asked his Karnataka counterpart to discharge water from the Almatti dam in time, the situation would not have been so serious," he said. 

Mumbai: As parts of Maharashtra reel under floods, a norm laid out by the BJP-led state government that people in those areas under water for more than two days will only be eligible for financial and food aid has created ripples. 

The opposition Congress on Friday slammed the government for two back-to-back orders on the criteria for assistance to flood affected people, calling it a "cruel joke". 

It said if the Devendra Fadnavis dispensation is sensitive, it should scrap the orders. 

A Government Resolution (GR) issued on August 8 said financial assistance will be provided if the area is inundated for over two days due to floods, and if houses are completely washed away. 
For urban areas, the per family financial assistance will be Rs 7,500 for clothes and equal amount for household items and utensils. 

In rural areas, the assistance will be Rs 5,000 per family for clothes and equal amount for household items, utensils. 

Another GR issued on August 7 said that 10 kg rice and 10 kg wheat will be given per family if the areas where they live were submerged in flood water for more than two days. 

Reacting to the GR, state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat said the criteria set by the government for the financial assistance was a "cruel joke". 

"Should the flood-affected people remain in water for two days for 10 kg rice and wheat?" he asked. 
Thorat said if the government has a little sensitivity left, it should scrap the GR immediately. 

Congress's campaign committee chief Nana Patole said when Fadnavis was busy with the 'Maha Janadesh Yatra', the Congress tried to bring the severity of the rain situation to his notice. 

"Had Fadnavis asked his Karnataka counterpart to discharge water from the Almatti dam in time, the situation would not have been so serious," he said. 

Patole also described as "mockery of people's hardships" the government's decision. 

However, School Education Minister Ashish Shelar hit back at the Congress, saying the party should instead see the January 30, 2014 GR under which the criteria for assistance was that the area should be submerged for over seven days. 

The Congress-NCP's Democratic Front government was in power in Maharashtra for 15 years till it was ousted by the BJP-led dispensation in October 2014. 

"Our government is sensitive to the hardships of the flood-affected people. When the need of the hour is to ensure evacuation and rescue of flood-affected people, opposition was indulging in politics," Shelar said. 

As of Thursday, over two lakh people were evacuated to safe places due to the floods that have wreaked havoc in five districts of Western Maharashtra --Sangli, Pune, Kolhapur, Solapur and Satara, officials said. Among them, Sangli and Kolhapur are the worst affected. 

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