Participating in a discussion in Rajya Sabha on a Calling Attention Motion regarding the situation arising due to floods, several leaders also questioned the official data on damages caused in the calamities and sought steps to put in place a warning system for floods and cloudbursts.

Responding to the members, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju admitted that 196 people have lost their lives, 2,184 cattle perished and 38,285 houses and huts damaged besides 0.357 lakh hectares of crop area damaged this year due to floods.

He, however, said the primary responsibility to deal with natural calamities lies with the state government concerned.

Maintaining that the country received heavy rainfall from June to September each year during the southwest monsoons, he said "the rainfall during this period accounts for about 70-90 per cent of the total rainfall over India. As a consequence of this rainfall, flooding of rivers is a natural phenomenon."

 Dilip Kumar Tirkey (BJD) sought a separate Ministry to deal with the calamities saying the present system of having the department under the Home Ministry, was not functioning well.

He got support from JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav who questioned the effectiveness of the National Disaster Management Authority and also demanded a separate Ministry to take care of the matter.

Many other leaders questions the effectiveness of the concerned authorities and agencies.

"You talk about steps taken after the flood, but what are the steps being taken for prevention of flood," questioned A U Singh Deo of BJD.

He said that there was urban flooding, river side flooding and flooding in the hills due to various reasons, including rampant construction activity.

Deo said it was a national shame that New Delhi also gets flooded even after an hour of rain. Raising the issue of Polavaram project, he accused the Chhattisgarh government to making barrages despite objections by Odisha and sought a meeting at the level of Prime Minister or the Home Minister to resolve the issue.

 

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