Amid the call to declare the devastating floods in Assam a national disaster, Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria has said in the Lok Sabha that there is no provision to declare any disaster including floods, as a national problem or calamity.
Kataria said that under the existing schemes of state disaster response fund of the ministry of home affairs, no such provision is present to declare any disaster including floods as a national problem or calamity.
The Minister of State was responding to a question by Assam Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi on whether the Centre was aware that Assam has been demanding that floods and erosion be included in the definition of national calamity.
Kataria’s statement comes amid demands from various organisations to the Centre to declare flood and erosion as national calamity. Only a couple of days ago, Union Water Resource Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had visited flood hit Assam and visited relief camps in Majuli and took stock of the situation in the state.
Congress MPs had, on July 15, also protested outside parliament seeking declaration of floods as national problem.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, during the fifth governing council of the NITI Aayog last month, sought the planning body’s intervention to include erosion in the list of natural calamities for financial assistance under the National Disaster Response Fund and SDRF to initiate timely measure to check erosion.