Congress urges Governor to monitor flood fund

Bhubaneswar: Demanding action against those responsible for alleged mismanagement of Hirakud dam, Congress today urged Orissa governor M C Bhandare to monitor utilisation of central funds meant for flood-hit areas.

A nine-member delegation led by Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik met the governor at Raj Bhavan here. "We have requested the governor to monitor spending of funds being disbursed by the centre for the flood affected areas," said Patnaik.

Alleging that the flood in river Mahanadi system was `man-made`, OPCC demanded stringent action against persons responsible for violating rule curve meant for Hirakud reservoir. "Had the authorities followed rule curve, there would not have been major flood in Mahanadi system," he said.

Congress also alleged that the relief operation was being carried out by officials in partisan manner keeping an eye on the ensuing panchayat polls. "The people supporting Congress and non-BJD parties are not being given proper care," they alleged in the memorandum submitted with the governor.

After meeting the Governor, Congress leaders including party`s chief whip in assembly, Prasad Harichandan also sought convening of a special assembly session to discuss flood.

When contacted, revenue and disaster management minister S N Patro, rejected Congress allegation claiming that the central team had already announced that there had been no complaint on relief operation. "We have not violated any rule pertaining to Hirakud Dam," the minister said.

Stating that 75 lakh people in 21 districts were hit due to two spells of floods in the state, Congress leaders also demanded more central funding for renovation, restoration, assistance to farmers and relief activities.

"Two spells of flood followed by drought in 16 districts have hit the farmers hard," they said.

Terming the BJD government as "inefficient", the PCC chief said the state administration completely failed in performing its duty, compounding people`s misery. "There are instances when people had to starve over a week encircled by flood water. The government failed to reach the marooned people at proper time," Patnaik alleged.