Kerala MPs demand floods to be declared natural calamity, seek Central aid for rehabilitation
Initiating a discussion in the Lok Sabha, CPM leader P Karunakaran said this is one of the worst floods in the history of Kerala and about 120 people have already lost their lives
New Delhi: Terming the flood situation in Kerala as "severe", the opposition today asked the government to declare the situation a natural calamity and provide funds for relief and rehabilitation beyond the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) stipulation.
Initiating a discussion in the Lok Sabha, CPM leader P Karunakaran said this is one of the worst floods in the history of Kerala and about 120 people have already lost their lives.
The intense rainfall has resulted in large scale devastation across various parts of the state and relief package from the central government was needed immediately, he said.
Given the serious nature of flood, he said, the Centre should declare this as a natural calamity and provide funds beyond what is due under the NDRF.
He expressed displeasure over not getting the due from the Centre after the devastation caused by the Okhi cyclone.
"We got very little after the Okhi cylone from the Centre," he said.
Expressing the concern over the working of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), he said it needed to be strengthened so that it can help mitigate the damage.
KC Venugopal of Congress said the people were staying in very pathetic situation at temporary shelters of flood affected areas of Kerala.
The government should intervene in the matter and provide concrete package to the state immediately, he said.
Besides, he said armed forces should be fully equipped to handle such kind of situation.
Government should create a National Disaster Mitigation Fund, he said, adding there is also need to strengthen the IMD to provide early warning for natural disaster.
Raising issue of drought in Bihar, Sanjay Jaiswal (BJP) said the issue has to be addressed comprehensively.
He suggested that the House should discuss the issue of flood and drought in the winter session so that a policy can be worked out beforehand for the next year.
He also said that National Green Tribunal should not impose blanket ban but has to consider issue taking into account topography and need of the region.
Veena Devi of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) also expressed concern over the drought-like situation in Bihar.
Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) accused the Centre of "step-brotherly" attitude towards West Bengal on granting assistance, despite the state being "seriously affected" by flood.
He said flood is a "natural calamity" and a national problem and the Centre should release funds immediately.
Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said while flood or drought affected Odisha every year, there was "constant apathy" of the Centre and the farmers were not given their due share of funds.
He said the second Green Revolution was an "empty rhetoric" of the Narendra Modi government as it does not factor in eastern India.
Deo said the government has not been able to devise a plan to deal with eratic rainfall or impact of climate change on agriculture. He said insurance companies were also not releasing money under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
AP Jithender Reddy (TRS) said the Centre should ensure that water is distributed judiciously as some states witness flood while others see drought.
K Geetha (YSR Congress) said the Polavaram project should be expedited at the earliest. She said nearly four lakh farmers have already migrated from Rayalseema area of Andhra Pradesh.
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