Declare Tamil Nadu floods national disaster, demands Congress

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) The Congress on Thursday expressed its solidarity with the people of Tamil Nadu over the loss of 269 lives in floods caused by heavy rains in the state and demanded that the central government declare it a “national disaster for all affected regions of east coast”.

Talking to reporters here, Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda also accused the central government of “lack of attention” to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Gowda said the NDRF had been allocated Rs.200 crore in the 2014-15 budget but in the revised estimates, the allocation had come down to Rs.50 crore. “The amount actually spent is Rs.7 crore.”

He said India often faces natural disaster in some form or the other and it was vital to focus on organisations such as the NDRF. “Take urgent action so that sad state of affairs is reversed,” he said.

He said 269 people have lost their lives in Tamil Nadu due to heavy rains and floods.

“We demand that this be declared a national disaster for all affected regions of east coast,” Gowda said.

Earlier in the day, the government informed that 54 people had been killed in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and two in Puducherry due to heavy rains and floods.

He said various states had complained about problems in getting adequate financial assistance for disaster relief from the central government and it should follow its words with “delivery”.

Referring to the central government’s plan for smart cities, Gowda said it was vital that cities respect the natural eco-system.

He said there has been a real estate rush over the years which has not paid attention to the demands of nature.

Gowda also said that the urban development ministry should form a task force to ensure that “urban growth respects eco-system”.

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