August 10, 2017
Saugata Roy speaks during a Calling Attention Motion on the flood situation prevailing in different parts of India
Thank you Madam. I thank the Home Minister for the detailed statement given by him. Although I am a little intrigued why the Home Minister should reply to a debate on floods during the Calling Attention Motion. This year, 24 States have been affected by floods, the most-affected being Gujarat, Assam, Rajasthan and Bengal.
One thing that has been pointed out by the CAG is that India’s flood forecast capability is a washout. We have not been able to forecast floods at all. Now I go to the statement in detail. Before that I may mention that in the whole country, the maximum number of people killed is in Gujarat – 229. Bengal is second at 149, Maharashtra, third at 105, and Assam, fourth at 84. About crops washed away, Gujarat is at the top, over an area of 8.91 lakh acres; Rajasthan is second at 8.34 and Bengal is third at 4.23.
I want to bring to the notice of the House that there has been rainfall in all parts of the country but in Bengal it is totally a man-made flood. It has happened in six districts of Bengal due to the release of water from the barrages of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), which is under the Central Government. The State Government has repeatedly appealed to the DVC to desilt its reservoirs in Tilaiya, Maithon and Panchet, but it has done nothing about the matter.
When the heavy rainfall started, Bengal had repeatedly appealed to the DVC to not to release water. The Chief Minister herself spoke to the DVC authorities and requested them not to release all the water at one go; but they still released the water. As a result, six districts of Bengal are badly flooded. And as I told you 129 people have died and 4.23 lakh acres of crops have been washed away. You would be surprised, Madam, that the maximum number of houses destroyed is in Bengal – 1,43,000 – as compared to 26,000 in Assam.
The Prime Minister visited Gujarat, which is all right; it is his home State which is badly affected. He also visited Assam, which is run by the ruling party. It is a good thing. The Ministers of State visited Assam and Arunachal Pradesh but none of the big honchos from the Central Government visited our unfortunate State of Bengal. While the Prime Minister announced a rehabilitation package for Gujarat, Assam and the north-eastern States, no package has been announced for Bengal till date. We feel unfortunate, left out, and we wonder in our minds whether we have been the victims of political discrimination.
My question to the Honourable Minister is direct:
A. Will the Union Government take proper steps for desilting the dams of Damodar Valley Corporation and also control the release of water from dams and barrages which are controlled by the Central Government’s Damodar Valley Corporation?
B. Will the Union Government announce any package for Bengal for relief and rehabilitation, and for recovery and restoration of embankments that are being washed away?
Our Chief Minister met Rajnath Singh ji the other day; she wanted to meet the Prime Minister but that day the Prime Minister was visiting Gujarat. I hope that Bengal will get relief from the Central Government and not feel politically discriminated against.
Thank you, Madam.