In a setback for Assam, the Centre has clarified that as informed by the Disaster Management Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the existing guidelines of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) do not allow for declaring a calamity as a ‘National Calamity and Disaster’.
On Thursday, Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Arjun Ram Meghwal confirmed that the Government of Assam had indeed requested the Centre to declare “flood and erosion” in Assam as a “national problem”.
However, in the event of disaster of a “severe nature”, financial assistance towards the notified natural calamities, including floods, is met from the SDRF, which is further supplemented from NDRF, in accordance with the established procedure.
The subject of flood management including erosion control falls within the purview of states. The flood management and anti-erosion schemes are planned, investigated and implemented by the state governments with their own resources as per priority within the states concerned. The Union government renders technical guidance and promotional financial assistance to states, he pointed out.
In Assam, a total of 141 projects costing Rs 2383.11 crore were approved and included under FMP. During the XI Plan, 100 projects with an estimated cost of Rs 996.14 crore were approved, while during the XII Plan, 41 projects with an estimated cost of Rs 1386.97 crore were approved. Central assistance amounting to Rs 748.86 crore was released during the XI Plan and Rs 64.89 crore during the XII Plan. Further, Central assistance to the tune of Rs 245.49 crore has also been released during 2017-18 to the Government of Assam. Since the start of the XI Plan, the total Central assistance released to Assam under FMP has stood at Rs 1059.24 crore till March 3l, 2018.
A high-level committee under the chairmanship of the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman was constituted by the Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region on October 4, 2017, for proper management of water resources in the region. The Brahmaputra Board was constituted with the objective of planning and integrated implementation of measures for control of flood and erosion in the Brahmaputra Valley and related matters.
The Brahmaputra Board advises the NE states on water resources development issues, including flood management. The Board has prepared 57 master plans, suggesting appropriate measures for water resources development and flood control.