|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
August 17, 2000
We will not beg for aid, says MP from flood-hit Arunachal
Amberish K Diwanji in New Delhi
Rajya Sabha member Nabam Rabia has denied that he and two other members of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh had threatened to approach the Chinese government for help, should the Indian Government fail to look after the state.
Floods claimed 30 lives and left 50,000 persons homeless in the state on June 11. But more than two months later, the government has ignored the two Lok Sabha members and Rabia's pleas for aid.
"When there were floods in Himachal Pradesh, relief was on its way within hours and within days, the central government announced a relief and rehabilitation package," said Rabia.
"How can we ever say such a thing?" he asked. "No doubt we are upset with the government's lack of concern and feel discriminated and neglected, but we will certainly not approach any foreign government."
China claims Arunachal Pradesh is part of its territory, and in 1962, India and China fought a month-long war over the territory. Beijing had also objected to Arunachal Pradesh being granted statehood in 1987.
The floods occurred in the Siang river, which runs through Arunachal Pradesh. The river is known as the Tsangpo in Tibet (China) and Brahmaputra in Assam.
"The floods occurred without warning and were the most unprecedented in the history of Arunachal Pradesh," said Rabia. A dam breach in China is believed to be the cause of the floods.
Rabia added that the Arunachal Pradesh government has asked the Centre to take up the issue with the Chinese government to ensure an early warning system. But, the government has not responded and it is not clear whether New Delhi has raised the matter with Beijing.
Concrete bridges at Songom, Ditedine and Nubo (the last inaugurated in 1996 by then prime minister H D Deve Gowda) were swept away, along with dozens of suspension bridges.
Arunachal Pradesh is now divided into two and the only communication across is Indian Air Force flights.
Cultivation has been wiped out from Gelling, the sub-district headquarters located almost on the India-China border, down to where the Siang meets other tributaries and becomes the Brahmaputra.
"We have sought Rs one million aid from the government,'' added Rabia, "What we have sought is due, but if the Centre does not care, we will raise the amount on our own. We will never beg for assistance.''
"We have not got a single paisa from the Calamity Contingency Fund or the Prime Minister's Relief Fund," said Rabia, adding, "It is rather unfortunate and very unfair."
He claimed that the government was vindictive since the two Lok Sabha members were from the Congress, while he was an independent supported by the Congress. "After all, Himachal Pradesh is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party," he added.
Even Parliament is cold to their demands. Rabia has petitioned Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice-President Krishna Kant to raise the issue in Parliament, but has been denied permission.
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK