Arunachal Pradesh to ask Centre for relief

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By RAJEEV BHATTACHARYYA in Delhi
  • Published 26.04.04
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New Delhi, April 26: The Arunachal Pradesh government is hoping that the Centre will plug with funds the damage caused by heavy rains in the past month.

Minister for relief and rehabilitation Dorjee Khandu, who was recently in Delhi, said they would request deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani to despatch a central team to the state for an assessment of the financial assistance. The funds would be required for the rehabilitation of affected people and repair of roads and bridges.

“So far, four persons have lost their lives and scores of others have been affected. The infrastructure is also in a bad shape. But instead of the state government giving an assessment, it would be in the fitness of things if Delhi despatches its own team,” he said.

Khandu said the districts of Tawang, West Kameng and East Kameng were the worst affected.

“Such severe rains have seldom been witnessed earlier. The devastation is comparable to the one in 2000 when there were floods due to a dam breach in China.” Altogether 30 persons were killed and nearly hundred more went missing when the dam on the Tsangpo had burst. The breach had left five districts reeling under floods. Khandu claimed that roads and bridges were being repaired to prevent disruption of the poll process. The state goes to the polls on May 5. “But if the rains continue, the conduct of smooth polls would be in jeopardy as the damage to the infrastructure has been quite substantial,” he feared.

The Eastern Himalayas, of which Arunachal Pradesh is a part, is one of 18 biodiversity hotspots in the world. This means that the ecology is in a fragile state. Largescale deforestation on account of jhum cultivation and illegal felling of trees has greatly reduced the forest cover of the region.