Assam has unspent Rs 1400 crores: Sonowal on flood-assistance

Refuting Assam government’s charge that the Centre has not released adequate funds to meet the flood situation in the state, Union MoS Sarbananda Sonowal today claimed that the state government has still not spent over Rs 1400 crore provided under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

Addressing a press conference here, the Union MoS (i/c) for Sports and Youth Affairs said, “The Centre had released Rs 1655 crore for SDRF in April 2015. Out this amount, Rs 1425 crore is still unspent with the state government.”

“The state government is wrongly saying that the Centre is not releasing funds. As per our knowledge, there are enough funds in hand,” he said.

Mr Sonowal said as per norms, the state government has to assess the flood damage and submit a report to the Centre, specifying the amount of money needed, and depending on it the Centre decides the amount to be released.

“The state government has to be specific about it, it cannot give a mere estimate, the state government has to state exact details,” he said, on CM Tarun Gogoi seeking Rs 500 crore as interim relief.

The Union minister urged all to work together to help the flood-affected people and not to indulge in political gimmicks at this time. He informed of submitting two reports to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home minister Rajnath and other ministries concerned on the flood situation and damage in the state following in tour of various affected areas.

Mr Sonowal said Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has told him that a high-level team from her ministry will visit the flood and erosion affected areas within 10 days and prepare a plan for checking flood and erosion problems, in consultation with the state government.

Similarly, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has responded positively to his appeal and asked five PSUs-OIL, IOCL, ONGC, BCPL and NRL, to chalk out modalities and determine the nature of assistance these companies could provide. Over 40 people have been killed so far in the current spate of floods, affecting over 17 lakh people in 20 districts of the state

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