Due to an ‘accounting’ error, Assam, which continues to be affected by floods during monsoon every year, has not received financial aid from the Central Government for flood management since 2014 apart from its share in the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), stated a media report.
A report published on Sunday by Scroll.in quoted State’s Revenue and Disaster Management Department as saying in response to an RTI query from Scroll.in: “Practically, the government of Assam has not received any assistance from the government of India during the period 2014-18.”
The report also claimed that a senior State government official blamed the Central Government’s refusal to disburse additional funds on the ground of an “accounting error” despite repeated requests on the part of the State Government.
As per data released by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 2017 had been the worst of the last four years in terms of floods in the State. In the year 2014, floods affected a total of 1,846 villages and displaced around 1.6 million people. The figure for the year 2015 was 1,031 villages and around 1.5 million people, and in the year 2016, it was 2,893 villages and about 1.7 million people.
In the year 2017, a total of 2,400 villages had been affected by flood waters and over 1.7 million people had been displaced in the flood-hit districts of Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Karimganj and Kokrajhar, among others.
The State of Assam is affected by floods almost every year with heavy rains result in overflows of river Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
According to data, in the year 2017, floods killed 151 people and displaced thousands of people while in 2018, a total of 49 people have been killed.
It has been reported that Assam received Rs 288.6 crore in 2014-2015, Rs 414 crore in 2015-2016, Rs 434.70 crore in 2016-2017 and Rs 456 crore in 2017-2018 from the Central Government.
In case the State Disaster Response Fund falls short, the State is entitled to submit a memorandum to the Union Home Ministry detailing its losses and seeking additional assistance. While the memorandum does not specify the source of the additional aid, the Centre usually disburses money from the National Disaster Response Fund. “The home ministry’s data shows that Assam has not received any assistance under the National Disaster Response Fund since 2014, despite having suffered substantial human and material losses in floods that year and every year thereafter,” the report further added.