State failed to tame flood: Jagdish Tytler

19 Sep

BHUBANESWAR: Describing the flood as man-made, senior Congress leader and Orissa in-charge Jagdish Tytler on Saturday criticised the State Government for its ‘failure’ to tackle it properly.

When the State Government had information that there was heavy rain in Chhattisgarh, why 40 to 44 gates of the Hirakud dam were not opened a couple of days before they were opened eventually, he asked. Tytler said the flood could have been averted had the water release from the dam managed in a more efficient manner.

The Congress leader alleged that even after a week, relief had not reached many areas. Non-availability of boats and food materials in remote areas reflects the unpreparedness of the State Government to meet such an exigency, he said and added� distribution of relief on ‘political considerations’ has made the situation worse.

Tytler said he would request Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Centre to depute a team from Red Cross to all the 19 affected districts as people now badly need medical help. He described the flood as a calamity of the highest order and said his party is also readying to take up relief work in the affected areas.

OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik said the State unit would submit a comprehensive report on the flood to the Prime Minister and party president Sonia Gandhi. A memorandum, prepared by the OPCC flood committee headed by former MP Sriballav Panigrahi, was submitted to Union Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat, who is in Orissa to review the flood situation.

The memorandum said the worst-affected people are fishermen who generally reside in the low-lying areas of villages and towns along river banks. It said they need special consideration as they have lost their nets and boats. The plight of the affected farmers also deserves urgent attention, the memorandum said and added interest-free loan and support in cash should be extended for rabi crop. It demanded waiver of school and college fees, free supply of textbooks and interest-free loan for education of students of the affected areas.

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