Central team concludes disaster survey in Nagaland

Central team concludes disaster survey in Nagaland
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NSDMA fails to make public memo seeking relief fund

Kohima, September 7: The five-member Inter-Ministerial Central Team deputed by the Central Government to conduct on-spot-assessment of the damage caused this monsoon season in Nagaland concluded their four days visit today. The team led by Joint Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs, K. B. Singh comprised of R. B. Kaul, Consultant, Department of Expenditure, New Delhi, Chahat Singh, Department of Rural Development Director In-charge, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Kolkata, Dr. K. Manoharan and Anirban Acharyya from Ministry of Road Transport & Highway, Guwahati. Interacting with media persons yesterday after the debriefing at Hotel Vivor here, the Joint Secretary on behalf of the visiting team said during the three days stay they assessed damaged caused in four districts – Kohima, Dimapur, Wokha and Phek while the respective deputy commissioner’s also made presentation on the extent of disaster. He said that they would prepare the final report after receiving the reconciled memorandum from the state. Nonetheless, the Joint Secretary refused to reply on a query on why the Centre has been delaying in sanctioning immediate relief fund for Nagaland despite more than a month of disaster while relief for other mainland states are sanctioned immediately. The State Government after visit of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju on August 6 last had submitted a memo seeking relief fund of Rs 800 crore. During the debriefing of the visiting teams held in Kohima on Thursday, Nagaland Government presented a fresh memorandum for relief fund to the team. However the amount was not revealed. Even as media persons sought for the memorandum submitted by the State Government to the visiting team, sources in Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority (NSDMA) said that the requirement needs to be reconciled as there have been more damages in the entire State after the Union Minister’s visit because of which the memorandum submitted cannot be made public. On behalf of the State Government, Advisor for Food and Civil Supplies and NSDMA, Pukhayi expressed hope that the team would present a favourable report to the Central government for early release of relief fund. Recalling that against the demand of Rs 650 crore sought by the State Government last year, the Centre had sanctioned only Rs 65 crore, Pukhayi hoped that this time with the Central team’s physical verification of the damaged areas favourable fund would be released Chief Secretary Benchilo Thong in his opening remarks said the monsoon disaster created havoc in Nagaland plunging the State into an SOS situation with roads disappearing, scores of people being rendered homeless and farmlands destroyed while Kiphire district and some other sub-divisions and locations were totally cut off from the rest of the State. Expressing fear that the damage could increase as the rains would continue till October, he sought the continued support of the Central Government. Making the power-point presentation, Chief Engineer of Roads and Bridges Department, Limatongdang Jamir highlighted the damages of roads and bridges in every district. He said that an amount of Rs 22.8 crore is required immediately for temporary restoration work while Rs 117.2 crore would be required for permanent repair works. Deputy Commissioners of Phek and Kiphire also highlighted the extent of damages caused in the respective districts. (Page News Service)