No urgent hearing to plea for massive relief to flood-hit Bihar

September 2nd, 2008 - 10:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to accord an urgent hearing to a plea seeking massive relief and rescue operations in the flood-hit Bihar.Hearing a public interest lawsuit, a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said: “How can the courts stop flood?”

The bench, which also included Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal, refused to take up the plea for urgent hearing and wondered if it was not aimed at gaining publicity for the petitioners, a Delhi-based advocate and a media person belonging to one of the affected districts of Bihar.

Observing that the government was already doing the needful, it said the petition would be heard only on the date slated for it by the court’s registry - Sep 15.

The petitioners sought the court’s urgent directions to the state and central governments to “undertake relief and rescue operations on war footing”, saying “the government machinery is moving at a snail place” in providing relief to the victims.

“The government has so far pressed merely three helicopters and less than 100 boats for the rescue and relief operations for more than two million people stranded in six districts of Supaul, Madhepura, Saharsa, Araria, Purnia and Katihar,” said the petitioners.

Seeking the court’s direction to the two governments to launch a massive relief and rescue operation, the petitioners said: “More than two million people are in the imminent danger of losing their lives for want of food and drinking water.”

Dwelling upon the governments’ alleged apathy to the plight of flood victims, the two petitioners said that 10 days after the Koshi river inundated the six districts of the state, the government officials were not even sure of the toll of human lives.

Asserting that “the flood is not only on the account natural disaster but also owing to the bureaucratic callousness and carelessness”, the petitioners said government authorities, instead of providing relief and rescue to the victims, were engaged in blame game, holding the Nepal government responsible for the disaster.

“They are blaming the Nepal government for the breach of the Koshi’s embankment in Nepal or trying to shift the blame on each other,” said the petitioners.

They also sought the court’s direction to the central government to take up the issue of repairing and strengthening of the Koshi embankment in Nepal on an urgent basis.

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