Chandigarh August 17: The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal toady asked the Union Government to provide liberal assistance to help the states in providing immediate relief to the affected population due to torrential rains in the state so that the people could be compensated for the loss of their livelihood due to damages to their houses and standing crops.
Besides Mr. Badal has also urged the Centre Government to revise the norms of compensation to provide adequate relief from the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF). He said that relief must not be confused with compensation.
In separate letters to the Sh. Sharad Pawar, Union Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Shivraj Patil Union Home Minister and Prof. Saif-u-Din Soz, Minister for Water Resources, the Punjab Chief Minister stated that the torrential rains in Punjab and heavy inflow of water from neighbouring hills have caused substantial damages in 8 districts of the State namely, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Moga, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Ropar. "A large number of villages of these districts are completely marooned. The standing crops, houses, school buildings, hospital buildings and other community infrastructure had been badly affected, uprooting a substantial rural population of the State from their respective homes. The Army is assisting Civil Administration in evacuating the affected persons" he added.
In his letters to the Union Ministers Mr. Badal said, "One of the major reasons for the floods has also been inadequate rehabilitation and strengthening of Water Resources Infrastructure of the State namely, dhussi’s/bands, canals, minors, distributaries, river embankments, etc. Most of this infrastructure is maintained by the State Government though a substantial quantum of water goes to the neighhbouring State, leaving Punjab to suffer for being a riparian State. We have, time and again, written to the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, to provide us requisite funds for rehabilitation and strengthening of Water Resources Infrastructure and some of our major projects including the project for rehabilitation of major canals in the State, Relining of Rajasthan Canal, Relining of Sirhind Feeder Canal and Construction of Shahpur Kandi Dam, are pending with the Ministry of Water Resources for a long time. Had these projects been cleared, these would, among other things, have helped to attenuate floods as well".
Mr. Badal said that in the present situation, the state needs to provide not only the immediate relief to the affected population till such time they are fully rehabilitated, but we also need to compensate them for the loss of their livelihood as a result of damage to their standing crops.
In his letter to Mr. Sharad Pawar, Mr. Badal said "For the present situation, we need to provide not only the immediate relief to the affected population till such time they are fully rehabilitated, but we also need to compensate them for the loss of their livelihood as a result of damage to their standing crops. I may mention here that the present norms of Government of India to provide relief from the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) neither provide sufficient relief nor do these fully compensate the affected persons. These norms need to be reworked to ensure that the affected persons not only get immediate relief but they are also fully compensated for the loss they suffer".
In a telephonic conversation with Mr. Shivraj Patil Union Home Minister, the Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal urged him to revise the norms of CRF and announce a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation package for the affected population of Punjab. He has also requested to send a team of senior officers of the Ministry for an on-the-spot study of the grim situation. However, such study should not preclude or delay announcement of a financial package for immediate relief to the affected population, he added.