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Uproar in House over Phailin aid


OST Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 12: The State Assembly today witnessed uproarious scene with the treasury bench and the Opposition having a war or words on the directive of the Centre to the state to return a part of its Cyclone Phailin assistance.

Unable to run the proceedings, Speaker Pradip Amat adjourned the House till 11.30 AM after two minutes of Question Hour.

While the ruling BJD members were seen holding banners and protesting the Central apathy, the Opposition Congress members countered their contention while accusing the state government of its inability to utilize the cyclone assistance it had received from the Centre.

It may be mentioned that Finance minister Prasanna Acharya, while presenting the vote-on-account in the State Assembly on Tuesday had informed that the Centre has asked the state government to return Rs 289.62 crore out of its total assistance of Rs 750 crore towards Cyclone Phailin.

The minister said the Centre, in a letter, has stated since it has provided more money to the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) towards the cyclone assistance, the state government should return the surplus SDRF to the NDRF failing which the money would be deducted from the Centrally-sponsored programmes earmarked for the state in future.

The state government had sought the Cyclone assistance to the tune of Rs 5000 crore from the Centre in two phases. However, Union Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, during his post-cyclone visit to the state had announced that Centre in addition to the Rs 750 crore to the state, would provide a total of Rs 934 crore on the basis of the recommendation of the Inter Ministerial Committee.

“Leave alone Rs 934 crore, the Centre has now asked the state government to take away a part of its earlier assistance which shows its customary apathy towards the state”, Acharya rued.