By L.S. Herdenia
BHOPAL: Unprecedented rains have caused massive damage to Madhya Pradesh. The losses in terms of human lives, standing crops, houses, cattle have been huge. The worst-hit is the Mandsaur district, where 40 persons have already lost their life.
According to Madhya Pradesh chief secretary SR Mohanty, the state has suffered a loss of around Rs 10,000 core due to excessive rains.
“The farm sector has suffered damages of around Rs 8,000 crore while other sectors have recorded losses to the tune of around Rs 1,800 to 2,000 crore,” the CS said.
According to Mohanty, a memorandum, with the final figures of the losses, will be handed over to a Central team, which is expected to visit the state soon. “Earlier, it used to take around 20-50 days to calculate the damage caused by heavy rains. But this year, tentative estimates of losses are ready due to three months of advance planning,” he claimed.
Mohanty said that the farmers would be compensated for the loss of crops. “Tenders have already been floated for roads repairs. The work will start around September 20,” he said.
Mohanty said that Raisen, Sehore, Indore, Bhopal, Rajgarh, Mandsaur, Shajapur, Agar-Malwa, Neemuch, Ujjain, Jhabua and Ratlam districts have recorded above-average rainfall this season.”
“Rainfall around Gandhi Sagar Dam in Mandsaur, which never crossed the 55-inch mark in the last 12-13 years, has already crossed the 77-inch mark. Since the construction of the dam, the average rainfall in the area has been 55 inches. The water level of the dam reservoir was 1,318 feet, around six feet more than the Full Reservoir Level (FRL). Despite opening all the sluice gates of the dam, the inflow of water into the dam was 16 lakh cusecs against the outflow of 6.6 cusecs,” he said. The chief secretary, however, rubbished the rumours that the dam may breach. “The backwaters of the dam have affected people of around 80 villages in Neemuch. Rescue operations are on,” he said.
Mohanty said that if there are no rains in the area for the next couple of the days, the water level would go below the FRL.
The state, he said, has received 33 per cent more rainfall than the normal. “But still, there are some parts, including the Shahdol and the Sidhi districts, which are rain-deficient,” he said.
According to reports reaching here, with the Gandhi Sagar overflowing, vast areas in the Chambal division have got inundated. Chambal River is flowing several metres above the danger mark in Sheopur, Morena and Bhind districts, breaking a record of more than three decades.
In a midnight operation in Sheopur, more than 200 villagers were rescued. Rescue teams from the Army and SDRF have been carrying out operations in the Chambal division.
A major rescue operation was conducted in Saand village in Veerpur Tehsil of Sheopur, bordering Rajasthan, where about 200 villagers were shifted to safer places.
Further downstream, the Chambal River was flowing five metres above the danger mark, inundating more than 100 villages. “This has happened after more than 25 years,” an official said.
In Bhind district, over 200 people were rescued from about 12 villages by Army teams from Jhansi and Gwalior.
Huge funds would be needed to compensate for the losses suffered by lakhs of residents of the state. This will require Central assistance. The question of what should be the quantum of the assistance has already triggered a war of words between the state government and the BJP leaders.
The state public relations minister PC Sharma has accused the Centre of not releasing the state’s share for rescue and relief operations at the instance of former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. He said, if necessary, he would launch an agitation on the issue.
“The state government has taken up rescue and relief operations in the flood-hit areas in right earnest but the BJP is politicising even a natural calamity. The Centre has not yet released Rs 1,017 crore for Bhawantar Bhugtan Yojana launched during the previous BJP government, Rs 6,500 crores meant for Central schemes and Rs 1,500 crore for wheat procurement,” he said.
The minister alleged that the release of the funds was stalled at the instance of Chouhan, who is playing politics at a time when the state is being battered by heavy rains. “He should, instead, persuade the Centre to release more funds so that we can help the farmers and the people,” Sharma said.
Meanwhile, the state BJP has demanded a two-day special session of the state assembly to discuss relief to the farmers and flood-affected families. Leader of Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, Gopal Bhargava, in a letter to chief minister Kamal Nath said that the government should take immediate steps to compensate the damages.
“We must together provide relief to the people. The heavy rains have caused severe damage in several parts of the state. The government must convene a two-day special session of the Vidhan Sabha to discuss relief,” the letter read. (IPA Service)