Flood ravaged Bihar demands Rs.148 bn for relief

November 7th, 2008 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Nov 7 (IANS) More than two and a half months after the worst floods in 50 years swept through Bihar, affecting hundreds of thousands of people, the state government has sought about Rs.148 billion from the central government for reconstruction and rehabilitation.Official sources in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s office here said the state has sent a memorandum demanding a package for the restoration and reconstruction of the Kosi region, which was hit by devastating floods this year.

Under the fresh demand of Rs.148 billion, Bihar sought about Rs.66 billion for the reconstruction of rural houses and block buildings destroyed in the flood. While Rs.19 billion has been sought for the construction of disaster shelters-cum-community centres and cattle sheds, Rs.18 billion has ben demanded for restoration of agricultural activities and Rs.16 billion for restoration of national highways and state highways.

Officials said these were only the major heads of the reconstruction and rehabilitation programme.

In August, the prime minister termed the Bihar flood a national calamity and sanctioned Rs.10 billion for immediate relief efforts. He also announced the release of 125,000 tonnes of food grain for flood victims.

Also Nitish Kumar had demanded Rs.89 billion in September after flood had hit five districts of Kosi region.

More than three million people were rendered homeless and over one million cattle head were affected by floods as the Kosi river changed its course following a breach in an embankment upstream in Nepal Aug 18.

The floods have claimed over 191 lives, according to official estimates. However, voluntary agencies fear the number could be in thousands once all bodies are recovered.

Officials said 993,992 people have been evacuated to safer places till date. About 370,000 people have taken shelter in over 300 relief camps in flood-affected areas.

The state agriculture department has estimated that standing crops in 175,000 hectares of farms have been destroyed in Madhepura, Supaul, Saharsa, Araria and Purnea districts.

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