Assam orders liberal relief disbursement to flood-hit people

Assam orders liberal relief disbursement to flood-hit people


Guwahati: As nearly 15 lakh population in over 20 districts of Assam continued to reel under floods, the state government ordered the district authorities to adopt a 'liberal attitude' in providing relief materials to the affected people, and not be strictly bound by guidelines. Asserting that the state had enough funds to provide relief to all affected people, state Finance Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma said, "There is absolutely no dearth of funds. We had provided relief money to the district deputy commissioners before the floods this year and we can provide money as sought by them." He added, "I have asked the deputy commissioners to adopt a most liberal attitude in disbursing relief to the people and they need not worry even if they do not follow the rule book (in relief disbursement) to the letter." The minister said, funds for flood relief were left unspent last year and Rs 300 to 400 crore is still lying in the state coffers, meant for this year's relief. He, however, warned that anyone found misappropriating relief funds or materials will be dealt with strictly. On local media reports that most affected people were not getting access to the relief materials, Dr Sharma said, "It is a challenge to reach out to each and every affected person. The administration is doing its best." He said, besides relief camps, relief distribution centres have also been opened to provide materials to people who are not taking shelter in the camps. The minister further said the Central government is in constant touch with the state government and all ministries have pledged their assistance. With flood waters starting to recede in most areas, Dr Sharma said health problems will surface now and all deputy commissioners have been instructed to conduct extensive medical camps in the affected areas. Providing clean drinking water and fodder for cattle and domestic animals have also been ordered to the district authorities, he added. Further, all relevant departments have been asked to assess the extent of damage to infrastructure and submit their financial estimate by August 15 next, so that funds can be released and repair work can commence by September-October, the minister said. At least 52 people have lost their lives and over 25 lakh population in 29 districts of the state in floods this year so far.

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