JD-U seeks law change to help speedy relief to flood victims

September 11th, 2008 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) Terming the central government’s relief package for flood-hit Bihar as meagre, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav Thursday sought an amendment in the law to provide speedy compensation to the victims.“The situation in Bihar is tragic and even worse than those caused by any other calamity like the tsunami or Hurricane Katrina. The state government is doing its best but the package provided by the centre is like a drop in ocean,” Yadav told reporters here.

“We need help on a huge scale. The people need immediate compensation, but the central legislation governing the compensation is such that it takes a lot of time. We demand that the central government amend the law to provide speedy compensation to the flood victims,” Yadav added, sharing his experience of visiting flood-affected areas.

He said families of the victims should be paid compensation without any post-mortem examination, which was not possible in such adverse conditions.

According to the law, an autopsy examination must be performed before any reparation money is paid to the family of the deceased.

“In such a case, the district collector or any senior official should be named to certify that the victim died due to floods. The government can do it by issuing an executive order and later the law can be amended in parliament,” he said.

Last month, the Kosi river changed its course, wreaking havoc in Bihar, especially in the districts of Saharsa, Madhepura, Purnea, Khagaria and Katihar. According to official estimates, at least 50 people have been killed, although voluntary agencies fear the deaths could be in hundreds.

In the JD-U-ruled state, over 2.5 million people and nearly one million cattle head have been affected. About 100,000 hectares of farmland has been submerged and nearly 300,000 houses damaged.

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