Bhopal: Leaders of the ruling Congress claimed on Wednesday that a central team that visited Mandsaur had lauded the flood management efforts of state officials at the Gandhi Sagar Dam and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was running a false campaign to defame the Kamal Nath government.
Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC)’s media cell in-charge Shobha Oza said former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was alleging that excess water wasn’t released from the dam by government officials which led to flooding in Mandsaur and Neemuch districts.
However, a central team, comprising officers of the Central Water Commission, inspected the dam on Wednesday and lauded the state Water Resource Department’s endeavours of managing the situation after heavy rains, said Oza. “This has exposed Chouhan’s conspiracy,” she said.
Presenting estimates of damage due to heavy rains, Congress leaders said 36 of the 52 districts in the state have been affected and 22 lakh farmers have suffered losses to the tune of Rs 9,600 crore. Roads, including those built under the PM Road Gram Sadak Yojana, have suffered damage worth Rs 1,566 crore, while over 54,000 houses have been destroyed leading to losses of about Rs 540 crore.
Other infrastructure, including government schools, anganwadi centres and hospitals, has suffered losses up to Rs 155 crore, one the party leaders said. Claiming that over 18,000 affected people were living in relief camps, a senior Congress functionary has said instead of politicising the crisis, BJP leaders should ask the Centre to clear a relief package worth Rs 11,861 crore.
Later in the day, Chouhan said he had been visiting several areas in Mandsaur, Neemuch, Sheopur, Morena and Bhind, but relief was yet to reach these places. “I am aware the ministers are calling my visits (to flood-affected villages) an act of drama.”
He further said it was the duty of the government to seek for funds and not that of the opposition. “They reserve the constitutional rights and are asking the opposition to seek Centre’s help,” said Chouhan, adding that villagers of deluge-hit areas were struggling to receive the bare minimum.
Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who was accompanying Chouhan on Wednesday during his visit to one such affected area, said Nath’s government was seeking a relief package of Rs 10,000 crore, but wasn’t doing anything on its own. He said, “The chief minister has no idea that the state government first uses Central funds kept as reserve during calamities and then, forwards the estimate of damage for relief package.”