Leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia on Monday sought from Prime Minister Narendra Modi a central package of at least Rs 20,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation work in areas that suffered damage due to flood over the last three to four years. He urged the Centre to declare the problem of flood and erosion in the state, which has already claimed more than 70 lives this year, as a national calamity. In a letter to Modi, Saikia reminded him that assurances were given by BJP leaders to make Assam a "flood- free" state if voted to power, and "the saffron party has since 2016 won the people's mandate twice in this northeastern state".
With floods wreaking havoc in the state annually, the Congress leader demanded at least Rs 20,000 crores as special central relief as compensation for the damage caused in the last three-four years due to flood and erosion. He also requested another special flood relief package to fight the calamity that the state is reeling under at present, maintaining that "people of Assam are desperately in need of central assistance in this hour of catastrophe". Saikia claimed that the Centre’s allocation to the state for its flood problem is far lesser than what the Assam government had sought in recent years. Assam demanded Rs 1,018 crore in the financial year 2021-22 but received only Rs 51 crore. Similarly, in 2020-21, the state sought Rs 2,642 crore, but got just Rs 45 crore, he maintained.
Saikia also requested the prime minister to include Assam's flood and erosion problem in the list of national calamities, noting that the BJP had itself suggested so in 2012. "The ruling party's coalition partner, Asom Gana Parishad, also demanded to your good self in 2017 to declare Assam’s flood as a national calamity (sic)," he added. Saikia also pointed out that an MoU was signed among the Assam government, National Highway Authority of India and Inland Water Authority of India in 2017 for dredging of river Brahmaputra -- from Sadiya to Dhubri – but "this significant project lacked proper implementation". “I hope that your government will take the necessary steps to fulfil these promises and reduce the suffering of the people of Assam," the Opposition leader added.
(With PTI Inputs)