Punjab not in Centre's list for flood damage assessment, CM 'surprised'
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday expressed surprise over Punjab not being included in the list of states identified for on-the-spot assessment of flood situation by an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT).
He sought immediate inclusion of Punjab in the list as the state has been hit by floods.
The Centre has listed 11 states for IMCT review of the flood damage but Punjab does not find mention in it, even though the state has witnessed large-scale flooding in many areas following unprecedented rains.
The chief minister urged Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately rectify it.
"Surprised on the exclusion of Punjab from the list of states to be visited by the Inter-Ministerial Central Team to assess losses in flood-affected areas in different states. Request HM @AmitShah ji to direct the central team to visit Punjab to assess the huge losses," Singh tweeted.
The IMCT was constituted by the Home Ministry following a decision taken at a high-level committee meeting on August 19.
The panel had decided to break away from the past practice of waiting for the affected state to submit a memorandum seeking central assessment.
The IMCT has been mandated to visit Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala to make final recommendations to the Centre for allocation of flood assistance to the flood-ravaged states.
Singh said he had already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a special flood relief package of Rs 1,000 crore for compensating the losses resulting from floods in the state.
It is estimated, as per initial calculations, that the state has suffered damage worth Rs 1,700 crore.
Singh, who was extensively touring the affected areas, had also urged the prime minister to instruct authorities to waive crop loans availed by affected farmers from banks/financial institutions during the current cropping season.
Recent rains and release of excess water from Bhakra dam to Sutlej river had caused extensive damage to standing crops and had inundated residential areas in several districts including Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Rupnagar and Kapurthala.
Meanwhile, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana K.P. Singh spent the day overseeing the relief and rescue operations in Doaba and Malwa.
Sarkaria said the work of plugging a 175 feet-wide breach near Bholewal village in Ludhiana and a 380 feet-wide breach at Meowal village in Jalandhar would be completed by Saturday night.
Meanwhile, Bajwa donated one month's salary to the CM Relief Fund.
Additional Chief Secretary Vishavjeet Khanna said in Jalandhar that the state government would provide free high-quality wheat seeds to the affected farmers for the upcoming Rabi season.
Khanna, who visited the flood-hit villages in Jalandhar, said the basic motive was to extend a helping hand to the farmers in this hour of crisis.
He said they would be provided high yielding varieties of seed as apart from their crops the flood water also destroyed the seeds.