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Politics plays havoc in Assam flood relief.

Kolkata: Even as close to two million people suffer from the devastation caused by the floods in Assam, the ruling Congress party at the state and the central government led by Bharatiya Janata Party engage in "cheap politics" over relief packages leading to more suffering for the people.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an assistance of Rs5 billion for the districts in Lower Assam, claiming that the state does not have adequate funds to fight the extent of the disaster.

"The existing funds with the state government are not sufficient enough to fight the magnitude of this disaster. We have been pleading for help but little has been done," chief minister Tarun Gogoi told Gulf News.

However, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal accused Gogoi's government of playing politics over the flood situation and said the state government has "enough" funds to tackle the problem at present.

"He (Tarun Gogoi) is playing politics over the flood problem. The state government is unnecessarily blaming the Centre of not releasing money. I appeal to him not doing cheap politics over floods. We all should behave humanly," the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports said.

Sonal the state government was given Rs16.55 billion as part of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) at the beginning of this financial year of which Rs14.25 billion are still unused. But the state government is asking more money and is giving excuses that there is no money just to avoid responsibility.

"We request the state government to issue a white paper on the SDRF fund and its utilisation," Sonowal said.

"Both the governments are playing politics in view of the 2016 elections. In this game of trying to take credit for relief work, the people are suffering which will lead to a feeling of animosity among people which will severely affect democracy," said Biju Thakuratha, a social observer.

"This political one-upmanship is also affecting the large cause of insurgency that had plagued the region for the last five decades. "Rogue elements take advantage of inadequacy of government and brain wash young people to join the forces. This feeling of neglect helps them not the people in power," Thakuratha added.

The Indian national media was also blamed for its lack of coverage while it went all out to cover the Sheena Bora murder case it completely neglected the plight of the people of Assam.

"For the last two weeks, India media focused on Guwahati for one particular news but forgot the rest of the rest which was suffering in sub-human condition. If this kind of flooding happened in any other state it would have made headlines for at least a month," said Tapan Adikari, a journalist in Guwahati.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Sep 10, 2015
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