MUMBAI: Criticising VIP visits to Maharashtra’s flood affected areas, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said such trips divert the focus of the local administrative machinery from rescue and rehabilitation work to attending to these dignitaries.
Pawar said the chief minister and the deputy chief minister need to visit the affected areas to assess the damage and accordingly take relief measures or policy decisions. “But those who do not have to play any role should not scramble to visit calamity affected areas. The local administration is already stretched,” he added.
The former Union minister’s comments came on a day Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was on a visit to flood-hit areas, accompanied by suspended BJP MLA Ashish Shelar. Taking a veiled dig at the governor, Pawar said he might help the state get more funds for flood relief from the Centre.
The Leader of Opposition in the assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, however, said such visits spur the authorities into action. “When we visit the affected areas, the local administration wakes up and starts working. Hence our visit is necessary.” The former CM, along with Union minister Narayan Rane and opposition leader in the Legislative Council Pravin Darekar, recently visited Taliye village in Raigad district, where a landslide killed 84.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also slammed the VIP visits saying people should not go to do politics and. “The flood tourism should be stopped. People should not just go to take photographs and videos,” he said.