December 8, 2014
Centre must ensure States have enough funds for managing natural calamities: Ratna De Nag in LS
Trinamool MP in Lok Sabha, Ratna De Nag today spoke in Lok Sabha on a discussion on the recent natural calamities in India. During her speech she demanded that the Centre must ensure States have enough funds for managing flood and drought situation.
Transcript of her full speech:
Natural calamities cannot be stopped by mankind irrespective of latest technologies. Man can only get ready to face it and reduce its impact. Meteorological predictions are more or less accurate. Uneven growth or playing with nature has resulted in huge floods and droughts.
A year back, Uttaranchal faced the nature’s wrath and this year Kashmir faced it. It was devastating to look at the picture of flooding in Kashmir, it was unprecedented. Sir, of late due to climate change and global warming, floods and droughts have become a recurring feature. With management of floods as State subject, States face financial problem in dealing with providing relief and rehabilitation when it comes to flood and droughts. States become hapless and helpless.
Coming to my State West Bengal, last year floods affected many districts resulting in paddy outputs drop by more than 30%. West Bengal has not only faced the brunt of floods but also heat spell. In April-May, 2014, due to heat spell, jute cultivation in Bengal has suffered heavily. There was a drought like situation in April-May, 2014, specifically in district in South 24 Parganas, where rain is deficient. Sometimes heat spells and some other time floods create panic and people from West Bengal are put at high risk and great distress.
Added to this, the West Bengal Government, which is already in financial quagmire, faces a daunting task of taking care of these natural calamities, floods and droughts. Why doesn’t the Central Government take a realistic review of the floods and droughts in an affected State and give generous funds from Natural Calamity Contingency Fund and of Calamity Relief Fund to ease the situation of the State which is facing acute flood and drought situation.
I would like to suggest to the Central Government to set up a permanent monitoring cell in the Prime Minister’s office as floods and droughts are occurring one after another or being witnessed simultaneously in different States of the country. I would also plead with the Central Government to have a review committee to undertake the realistic situations of those Sstates which are affected by floods or droughts and report back to the Central Government in consultation with the state authorities so that the States get enough funds to face the floods and drought situations.
Natural Disaster Response Fund should be used generously. I would also ask the Central Government to see that more funds are allocated to the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and other schemes to mitigate the situation of deficient rainfall in West Bengal. An estimated 8.35 lakh population of West Bengal was affected during falls in 2013, West Bengal lost one or two lives in 2013 due to floods and the total damage is to the tune of Rs 4,114 lakh.
When the Government of India is having paraphernalia to study, analyse and act in advance, why the Central Government is not taking appropriate step address floods and droughts well in advance by extending data or information or by allocating funds to attain to the after effect of the droughts and floods. Being an agricultural country more than 60% is dependent on agriculture, farmers face the brunt in the event of floods or droughts. The Government should announce in the event of natural calamities a loan waiver.
In the end I would like to summarise a few important points:
There is an urgent need to take preventive measures to face flood. Efforts should also be undertaken to make sure of full utilisation of flood water. Erosion of arable lands by floods is a major problem which needs to be attended by the Central Government on war footing.
Sir, will an action plan be put in place at the Centre as well as the state level which will be reviewed at regular intervals, losses incurred by floods and droughts by state should be accurately and adequately compensated. An expert body should conduct study on floods and droughts and come out with remedial measure and recommendations to be followed by Centre and State in letter and spirit.
Our Government in West Bengal headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had been doing outstanding work with limited financial resources for the poor and disadvantaged people of the society. We will strive harder in the future to see that common man is not affected by floods and droughts, thank you Sir.