Bihar needs special relief package: Nitish Kumar

September 10th, 2008 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghPatna, Sep 10 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday said he would demand a special package from the central government for the flood-ravaged state to enable rehabilitation and reconstruction once the floodwaters recede.”I have sought an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after Thursday to meet him and formally put forth a demand for a special package for rehabilitation and reconstruction in flood-affected districts,” Kumar told reporters here.

Kumar said that the task of rehabilitation and reconstruction was a huge one.

“It is not possible for the state government to carry out rehabilitation and reconstruction on its own in view of the huge task caused by devastation. We strongly feel that Bihar needs a special package from the central government,” Kumar said.

The chief minister said that the floods had damaged standing crops, roads, bridges, houses and whatever came in its way.

Over 2.8 million people and nearly one million cattle have been affected by the floods caused by the change in course of the Kosi river, following a breach in an embankment upstream in Nepal. About 100,000 hectares of farmland have been submerged and nearly 300,000 houses damaged.

Last month, the prime minister had termed the Bihar floods as a national calamity and announced the immediate release of Rs.10 billion (Rs.1,000-crore) as relief for the state.

He also announced the immediate release of 125,000 metric tonnes of foodgrains for the affected people.

About 971,000 people have been evacuated to safer places in the flood-hit areas till date. Around 279,000 people have taken shelter in over 300 relief camps in flood-affected areas, officials said.

According to the water resources department, the Kosi river continued to recede. But itr still poses a threat to the lives of the trapped people.

The floods have claimed at least 50 lives, according to official estimates. However, voluntary agencies fear the number could be in several hundreds.

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