R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, June 11 - With the rainy season approaching, the State Government has started making preparations to mitigate the sufferings of the people during floods and the quantum of the State Disaster Response Fund has been increased for the current financial year. Meanwhile, the State Disaster Management Authority has also deployed manpower and boats in the vulnerable localities for rescue and relief operations.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that the State Disaster Response Fund for the current financial year has been fixed at Rs 559 crore, 90 per cent of which would be provided by the Central Government. The amount for the last financial year was Rs 532 crore.
Sources said that there should not be any shortage of fund to provide relief to the affected people in case of floods and more than Rs 19 crore has already been provided to the Deputy Commissioners in advance so that they do not face any fund crunch in providing relief to the affected people whenever floods hit their districts.
It may be mentioned here that under the Disaster Management Act 2005, a financial mechanism has been set up by way of National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) at national level and State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) at state level to meet the rescue and relief expenditure during any notified disaster. SDRF has been constituted in each State in which Centre, so far, had been contributing 75 per cent for General Category States and 90 per cent for Special Category States and hilly regions every year. SDRF is a resource available to the States to meet the expenses of relief operations of immediate nature, for a range of specified disasters. At any point, the State Government has fair amount of funds available under the SDRF, sources said.
In case the fund is exhausted, the State Governments have to approach the Centre for additional funds from the National Disaster Response Fund. In such cases, the Centre normally sends a team of officials to visit the states to assess the situation on the ground before making additional payments.