Maharashtra: Stay in water for 2 days to avail of relief

Mumbai: As parts of Maharashtra continue to reel under floods, a norm laid out by the BJP-led state government that only people from those areas that have been under water for more than two days will be eligible for financial and food aid, has evoked a deluge of criticism.

'Insensitive' government is the reaction of the flood-affected. A Government Resolution (GR) issued on August 8 said financial assistance will be provided if an area is flood-inundated for over two days and if houses have been completely washed away.

In urban areas, every family will receive Rs 7,500 in assistance for clothes and an equal amount for household items and utensils, while their rural counterparts will receive assistance of Rs 5,000 per family for the same.

Another GR issued on August 7 said that 10 kilos each of rice and wheat will be given to every family if the areas where they live were submerged in flood water for more than two days.

The opposition Congress on Friday slammed the government for two back-to-back orders on the criteria for assistance to the flood-affected, calling it a "cruel joke".

Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar and Congress state president Balasaheb Thorat visited the flood-affected areas on Friday. If the Devendra Fadnavis dispensation has the slightest bit of sensitivity, it would scrap the orders, the leaders said.

"Should the flood-affected remain in water for two days, to get 10 kg of rice and wheat?" demanded Thorat.

However, School Education Minister Ashish Shelar hit back at the Congress, saying the party should check the GR of January 30, 2014, in which the criteria for assistance was that the people should have been in an area submerged for over seven days, in order to qualify for aid.

From 1999-2014, the Congress-NCP's Democratic Front was in power in Maharashtra, until it was ousted by the BJP and its allies in October 2014.

"Our government is sensitive to the hardships of the flood-affected people. When the need of the hour is to ensure their evacuation and rescue, the opposition is indulging in politics," Shelar blamed.

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