West Bengal state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Wednesday accused the state’s Mamata Banerjee government of failing to utilise the money available under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for tackling the recent floods.
He said that the Banerjee government can’t wash its hands of the responsibilities to provide relief and rehabilitation to the flood victims by calling it “a man-made flood”.
“Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to wash off her hands from the responsibility by terming it a ‘man-made’ flood. But it is a failure of her government as it could not provide the necessary relief and rehabilitation to the flood victims despite getting funds from the centre in the form of NDRF and SDRF,” Chowdhury said at a public meeting here.
“Under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, passed under the then Congress-run central government, all the states receive funds from the centre in the form of State Disaster Response Fund to tackle the emergency situation during the natural calamities.
“They are also eligible for immediate relief assistance from NDRF if the funds needed for relief operations exceeds the balances in the SDRF account. Is it not the state government’s failure in spite of getting the centre’s aid?” he asked.
Taking a swipe at Banerjee for blaming the water released from different barrages under the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for the inundation in several south Bengal districts, Chowdhury said it is not possible that DVC would release water without the state’s consent.
“The water released from DVC is controlled by a regulatory committee that comprises representatives from centre, DVC and the state governments of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar. It is not possible that the water was released from the dams without the Bengal government’s consent,” he claimed.
“The Chief Minister is trying to misguide the flood victims by putting the blame on DVC. I challenge her to tell to the truth,” said Chowdhury, adding that lakhs of people are still suffering in the districts of Malda, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur in north Bengal without food, medicine, or habitat and no government relief has reached them yet.
Stating that the state Congress does not have the sufficient infrastructure to support everyone, he took out a rally from Hazra Crossing to Lake Mall in south Kolkata and urged the party activists and locals to donate as much money and relief materials as possible to to help the flood victims.