The Meghalaya cabinet on Friday decided that all ministers would contribute to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) to help people affected by flood in the state.
Home minister James K. Sangma informed after the cabinet meeting that the current flood situation in the state was discussed during the cabinet meeting including relief measures to be taken to help the people.
“All ministers will be contributing to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, and we would like to reach out to all citizens of the state. This is not just a matter of the present flood situation in our state but also keeping in view some natural disasters,” Sangma said.
“Whatever amount it may be, big or small, we would like to appeal to the citizen of our state and rest of the country to donate generously to the chief minister’s relief fund,” he added.
He said that the cabinet left it to the ministers to donate whatever amount it may be.
Sangma also said that the appeal was a general one to all citizens including MLAs and appointees of various boards and corporations.
The Meghalaya government is also seeking central assistance but yet to project how much funds it would seek.
“The chief minister had met the union home minister and other central ministers too. We are seeking central assistance as we have been affected by the worst flood situation ever and we hope that the Centre will extend its support,” the home minister said.
On the demand to declare the flood situation in Meghalaya a national disaster, the minister said, “We are examining the matter and then take a call to urge the Centre to declare.”
He said that over one lakh people have been affected by flood displaced and few days back he visited the flood affected areas of Garo Hills.
“The district administration is doing its level best to provide relief materials and set up relief camps to take care of the displaced people. We have many boats in place and if there are shortages, we will make arrangement for more boats,” he said.
Sanitation is a big issue and the health department is working overtime to ensure that in such a situation, diseases are not spread,” James Sangma said adding that many efforts are being put in on the ground.
Not only Garo Hills, some areas in Khasi Hills especially paddy fields have been affected by flash floods last week due to heavy rain.
On the main reasons that led to flash floods especially in Shillong city whenever heavy rain hit, Sangma said that he did not have the details, but there have been heavy showers and very heavy of late.
“There are many reasons and we will be assessing all those. In the plain areas of Garo Hills, the waters of Brahmaputra river from Assam are flowing back. Some rivers in Khasi Hills have risen and embankments have been eroded causing a lot of loss to property,” he informed.
On poor drainage system in Shillong city that caused inundation of many areas during heavy downpour, Sangma said, that the government would look into this and examine the matter whether it was because of the drainage system or other reasons.
“We will be going in depth into the reasons,” he said.
Sangma also informed that detail assessment would be done later, and right now, the government concentrates on the relief operations.