GUWAHATI: Assam Government today asserted that contrary to reports the Centre has not released Rs 1,655 crore for flood relief and rescue operations in the state so far.
Referring to reports in a section of the press that the state government has an available balance of Rs 1,400 crore for relief and rescue operations, a release by the joint secretary to Revenue and Disaster Management department said Rs 1,655 crore was released by the Centre in the beginning of 2015-16.
The total amount earmarked by the 14th Finance Commission for the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2014-15 is Rs 460 crore, out of which the Centre's share is Rs 414 crore and state's share Rs 46 crore, the release said.
"Therefore, the question of the Central government releasing Rs 1,655 crore for relief and rescue operation does not arise", it asserted.
The closing balance of SDRF on March 31 was Rs 80.73 crore and the Centre has released the first installment of Rs 207 crore, which is 50 per cent of its share till now, the release said.
The available fund during the current year is Rs 333.73 crore, including state share of Rs 46 crore. The expenditure till date is Rs 104.92 crore.
The state government, it said, has taken all rescue and relief measures during the four waves of floods this year and has not allowed the availability of funds to hamper its operations in any manner, the official said.
However, the government would require additional funds for restoration and repair of damages caused to infrastructure during the floods this year, it added.
Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had yesterday accused Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of doing "cheap politics" over the flood situation and claimed that the state government has enough fund to tackle the problem at present.
He had claimed that the state government was given Rs 1,655 crore as part of SDRF fund during the beginning of this financial year and out of it Rs 1,425 crore was still unused. But the state government was asking for more money, he said adding Rs 207 crore second installment of SDRF fund, which was announced to be released immediately by DONER minister Jitendra Singh last month, was not released yet as the state has enough money.