Both Centre and State would do everything for flood-hit Maharashtra: Narayan Rane
Union Minister and senior BJP leader says this is not the time for ‘politicking’
Assuring the flood-hit people of Konkan and western Maharashtra that both the Centre and State governments would do everything to rehabilitate them, Union Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narayan Rane said that the crisis was not the time to indulge in politicking.
Mr. Rane, who along with former Chief Minister and BJP Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis visited landslide-hit Taliye in Raigad, said that he had been tasked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and assured that destroyed houses would be rebuilt through the PM Awas Yojana.
“This is not the time to point fingers or make comparisons [between the Maharashtra and Central governments] or play politics… All focus should only be on rescue and relief operations. We have come to give succour to those whose livelihoods have been destroyed by floods and landslides. Presently, rescue teams are having a tough time to dig up the dead bodies…44 bodies have been dug out and almost the same number are feared missing. Some bodies have been found dispersed as far [away] as 2 km. So, the priority now is to complete these operations,” said Mr. Rane, the newly appointed Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
He said the Prime Minister would be given a detailed report of all damage suffered by people in the Konkan region and western Maharashtra.
“We will also try and ask the Centre to keep an NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team permanently stationed in the Konkan, which normally is prone to such disasters, in the future,” Mr. Rane said.
Remarking that the NDRF, SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) and other rescue teams along with local police and other administration officials were working hard on the ground, Mr. Rane said that more aid would be provided to the afflicted populace in the event the official relief aid provided by the Centre and the State government fell short.
“This is a truly unfortunate incident. Although the families of the victims have received assistance from the Centre and the State, it does not mean we will not help them further if this aid proves inadequate…those whose homes have been destroyed will be given good and solid houses through the PM Awas Yojana. However, the only thing we can’t bring back are the dead,” he said.
Mr. Rane further said that he had instructed the Raigad District Collector to ensure that survivors were rehabilitated as per their wishes and that an independent official be appointed to especially cater to their needs.
Normally a bitter critic of the Shiv Sena and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Mr. Rane showed considerable restraint during his tour, remarking that there would “all the time later” to assign responsibility for the disaster.
“Who could have thought of it [excess rain and landslips]? This is not the time to trade allegations… Later we can assess on whom to place the responsibility for these events,” he said.
However, when questioned whether any Minister from the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had spoken with him after the disaster, Mr. Rane could not resist taking a dig at the ruling government and the CM.
“People of the State government do not meet me nor do they talk with me…now that he [Chief Minister Thackeray] has received his discharge, he is finally moving out,” Mr. Rane quipped.
He was repeating the BJP’s frequent allegation that the Chief Minister never moved out of his residence in Mumbai to survey during any natural calamity, instead citing the pandemic as pretext.