Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today launched a veiled attack on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi following reports of the BJP leader evacuating 15,000 people from flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, dismissing that such a thing was impossible.
"I don't think it is possible," Hooda said when asked to comment on reports that Modi had with the help of his team of officials managed to evacuate such a large number of people from the deluge-affected hill state.
Hooda, who had met his Uttarakhand counterpart Vijay Bahuguna and offered all help, had also visited Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haridwar yesterday to meet people from Haryana who had been rescued from various parts of Uttarakhand.
"I was there (in Uttarakhand). I don't think such a thing is possible. I don't know how he (Modi) did it (rescuing 15,000 people)," Hooda said addressing a news conference here this evening.
To a question, Hooda said Uttarakhand floods, which had claimed a large number of lives, was a national calamity of unprecedented magnitude and lashed out at those who are trying to politicise the issue.
"It is indeed unfortunate that when a state is trying to come to terms with a natural disaster, there are some people who are trying to politicise the issue.
"This is time to stand behind those who have been affected by the calamity and not the time to play politics (over floods). Priority should be to safely evacuate those who are still trapped and later, on rebuilding the ravaged state," Hooda said.
The Haryana Chief Minister said his government has offered to adopt and rebuild 25 villages in Uttarakhand.
"I have left it to Bahuguna to decide which villages they want us to re-build and rehabilitate," he said.
Hooda said Congress MPs and MLAs from the state would donate one month's salary towards relief and rescue measures undertaken in Uttarakhand.
"Today, they (Uttarakhand government) requested us to send some vaccines for animals, which we will dispatch soon," he said.
To a question, he said a number of people belonging to Haryana had been rescued, out of an approximate 1,044 persons who were stranded in the hill state.
A team of senior Haryana bureaucrats is already in Uttarakhand and coordinating with various agencies to facilitate safe return of the stranded pilgrims, he informed.
Meanwhile, without naming neighbouring Delhi, Hooda said Haryana is often blamed for releasing excess water from the Hathnikund Barrage in Yamunanagar and clarified that the barrage is like a regulator and not a dam, therefore, it was wrong to say that Haryana releases excess water.
Moreover, there was unprecedented discharge of 8.06 lakh cusecs of water at Hathnikund Barrage a few days back after heavy rains as against its capacity of about 7.5 lakh cusecs of water, he said.
In reply to a question concerning recent floods in some villages of Haryana in Yamunanagar, Karnal and Palwal districts, he said the state has been stressing the need for construction of three storage dams on Yamuna at Renuka, Kishau and Lakhwar Vyasi.
People would be compensated for the loss suffered by them, he said.
On flood control measures being taken in Haryana, Hooda said all drains in the state would be cleaned by June 30 and added that breaches caused by recent floods were being repaired and the work would be completed by June 27.
Replying to another question, he said Rs 181 crore have been spent on strengthening the banks of Yamuna river during last three years and in addition to it, Rs 260 crore have been spent on other flood control measures during the same period.