SHRI ANIL BASU (ARAMBAGH): Sir, we are discussing a calamity of rare severity. The low pressure which developed, coincided with peculiarly high tides. The situation further aggravated particularly in my constituency due to release of water from the DVC dams. The low pressure which developed on 22nd of September caused heavy downpour and that coincided with the highest tides. The dams were constructed to control the flood in the upper reaches of Damodar river Panchet, Tillahia, Mythen - but all the reservoir started releasing water. More than two lakh and fifteen thousand cusecs of water was released which submerged most of the areas of my constituency. On the other hand release of water from Kansabati Reservoir submerged the ghatal areas of my constituency. My constituency is worst affected due to this. This peculiar situation, the low pressure high tides, and the simultaneous release from the reservoir has caused immense hardship to the people of the whole of West Bengal. The flood in the Ganga river along the whole coast of the river from Murshidabad to Calcutta has affected the whole area. All districts of Murshidabad, Malda and West Dinajpur were badly affected. Last year, we sought an assistance to the tune of Rs.700 crore but unfortunately, the Central Government released funds to the tune of only Rs.60 crore to the State Government and that too at the fag end of March. Last year, the assistance from the Central Calamity Relief Fund was released to West Bengal Government on 30th March. Such types of calamities has occurred again this year and there is another warning, that is, another low pressure has developed which will create havoc in coastal West Bengal and Orissa. What is required is the urgent response from the Central Government. The States which are affected by floods, by severe natural calamity, this year - Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar - are the States which are ruled by the Opposition Parties except Andhra Pradesh, which is ruled by the TDP, a Party supporting the Government from outside.

Sir, I think there is some politics in providing Central assistance to the States. When such type of natural calamities are occurring, the Centre has all the information at its disposal. They have the information about rainfall, about the low pressure, about the high tide and about the release of water. Then why are they waiting? The system is that a Central team from the Ministry of Agriculture would visit the affected areas, they would assess the situation and would submit a report. Then the funds from the Natural Calamity Relief Fund are released to the States. When a calamity has occurred in such a big magnitude, immediate release of fund is necessary. It is because the funds which are available in the CRF and State Budget would have been exhausted. Apart from that, the State Government has provided assistance to the affected people. The necessity is to provide immediate assistance from the Centre. What is the response of the Central Government? I find nothing.

Sir, another important thing is that these dams were constructed in 1957, 1958 and 1959. Since then, 40 years have passed. Eight dams are required to be constructed. But only four dams were constructed. Only 50 per cent of the excess water was tried to be controlled through the reservoir. Eight dams were to be constructed in the whole plan but four dams were constructed. What happened during the last 40 years is that even those four dams were silted due to heavy deforestation in the catchment area of the river. Now, they cannot reserve all these waters because the capacity of the dams have continuously been reducing due to siltation. So, I urge upon the Central Government that if you have to control flood, there are different areas, different regions and different characteristics throughout the country which you have to keep in mind. So, there should be an indepth study of the whole situation.

In the year 1988, a National Flood Commission was constituted and it made some recommendations. But no Government either at the Centre or at the State took cognizance of the report. Now, 19 years have passed and we are facing another severe calamity ... (Interruptions). Sir, I urge upon the Central Government to constitute another Flood Commission so that it could study the whole situation and recommend the necessary remedial measures that are to be taken. Those measures have to be incorporated in the Plan. They should be discussed in the Planning Commission as well as in the National Development Council and a comprehensive plan has to be drawn to control the natural calamities in this country. Otherwise, this type of calamity cannot be controlled and people's sufferings cannot be minimized.

In West Bengal, the damage is to the tune of Rs.2,000 crore and the West Bengal Government has sought assistance to the tune of Rs.721 crore. A Central team from the Ministry of Agriculture is visiting different parts of West Bengal. I suppose they will be back here in Delhi today, pending that, you just release the money from the Natural Calamity Relief Fund.

Sir, I fully support the view of Shri K. Yerrannaidu that the amount of the fund has to be raised. With only Rs.200 crore, how do you think that you will face such situations throughout the country? A substantial amount has to be provided to the States.

In the case of West Bengal, I demand from the Government that Rs.721 crore which was sought from the Central Government should be provided to the West Bengal Government for the rehabilitation and restoration work. The National Flood Commission has to be constituted again to study the whole situation and to make suitable recommendations so that flood and natural calamities can be controlled in this country.

SHRI SUDIP BANDYOPADHYAY (CALCUTTA NORTH-WEST): Shri Mahboob Zahedi has told the House that Rs.20,000 crore is the total loss. But Shri Anil Basu is telling that it is Rs.2,000 crore. I do not know whether the CPM MPs know the real loss. Is there no difference between Rs.20,000 crore and Rs.2,000 crore?


SHRI ANIL BASU (ARAMBAGH): Let him add all the figures.

SHRI BIKRAM DEO KESHARI (KALAHANDI): Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, today we are discussing natural calamities and to be specific, we are discussing about the cyclone which hit the State of Orissa creating an unprecedented damage.

The cyclone was unprecedented. The State machinery which was supposed to meet this type of eventuality was not prepared to meet it. Basically it has been seen that when there is a Government under the Congress Party in the State, it is always left in the lurch when a natural calamity hits Orissa maybe in the form of a cyclone or drought in Kalahandi.

Today you will see that the magnitude of the damage that has occured in the State of Orissa, as compared to the one which happened in Gujarat in 1998, is about Rs.400 crore more. In Gujarat it was about Rs.600 crore, but today in Orissa it is about Rs.1,000 crore. If a poor State like Orissa is not given all the help, the people of Ganjam and the coastal districts cannot come out from the misery of this natural calamity. You will see that the people of Ganjam primarily depend on agriculture, horticulture and vegetable cultivation. In Orissa, Ganjam is the supplier of vegetables for the entire State. This was the time when lakhs and lakhs of acres were planted with saplings of vegetables which would have gone to the State and the country. But today that has been completely wiped out. Therefore, immediate agricultural help should be given to the districts of Ganjam and other coastal districts.

Besides, you will see that all the developmental projects which were going on there have also been damaged. The complete environment of the area has been shattered and that has to be restored immediately. Now another cyclone is coming. Why is it that cyclones keep coming? There has been an environmental imbalance in the Bay of Bengal or in the environment of Orissa and the hills of the Eastern Ghats which control the complete eco-system of that area. Today the Eastern Ghats have been completely denuded of forests. We usually get south-west monsoon. But this time we got the north-east monsoon which eventually came and touched the coast of Orissa and the cyclone was created because of low pressure. There has been a global warming effective in the State of Orissa to the maximum extent. This has to be checked.

As you see the sense of the House, there has been a demand for the creation of a Natural Calamity Fund and our senior Member Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said that an institute should be formed to go into the problems of natural disasters and calamities. That will be a good move. We got a constructive suggestion and not critical suggestions like the Central Government did not do anything.

Today the Prime Minister went to Orissa. He declared a grant of Rs.250 crore. That is on its way. It will be definitely spent in Orissa. But I have my grave doubts whether the State Government has got the machinery.

SHRI K. P. SINGH DEO (DHENKANAL): It is an additional advance, not a grant.

SHRI BIKRAM DEO KESHARI (KALAHANDI): Whatever it is. It is the money going to the State to be spent in the State. That eventually will be spent in the State of Orissa and in the affected zones. But I have my grave doubts. Can the Government of Orissa meet this eventuality? Today the Government of Shri Giridhar Gamang is in a dire financial situation. They cannot pay primary school teachers. They cannot give grant-in-aid which they had promised to the colleges.

Today, you will see that in most of the blocks of the district of Ganjam, a part of which comes under the KVK districts, there are no block officers, there are no engineers and VLWs are not there. I hope my hon. friend, Shri Anadi Sahu who comes from that area will agree with me.

Before concluding, I would like to request through you that additional loans should be pumped into the zone which has been severely affected by cyclone. But as the debate on the natural calamities is going on under Rule 193, I would like to mention about Kalahandi. Special assistance should be given to Kalahandi to mitigate the drought situation there and the projects should be completed. Besides this, the drought has been very severe. This year, the rain Gods have been very kind to the district of Kalahandi. But the effect of drought has been so severe for the last seven years that it will take another seven years for it to mitigate the problems and come back to normal conditions.

SHRI E.M. SUDARSANA NATCHIAPPAN (SIVAGANGA): Respected Deputy-Speaker Sir, I am proud of delivering my maiden speech in this august Parliament. Actually, I should have chosen some other topic rather than this subject of natural calamities when I am giving my maiden speech.

Sivaganga is a drought prone area and also a cyclone prone area. Only the word `ganga' is there in it but actually, there is no Ganga there...(Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: You are not to interrupt a maiden speech.

SHRI E.M. SUDARSANA NATCHIAPPAN : I have been coming to this august Parliament for the past four days. There was cyclone in the morning but in the evening, there was calmness after the cyclone. Therefore, in that calmness, I may speak about some positive aspects which have to be considered. I just recollect how Jawarharlal Nehru dreamt about new Bharat when he sat in the Treasury Benches. He constructed many dams throughout India, set up industries, developed many structures as also agriculture. The first three Five Year Plans were very very successful which caused the people in the drought prone areas and those who are under poverty line to come up in life. Even then, due to some handicaps in the State Governments, results could not be achieved fully. When Shrimati Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister, she made a dynamic approach to bring up the poor, family-wise and group-wise, so as to lift them from below the poverty line.

About 14 years before, Shri Rajiv Gandhi dreamt as to how India should be developed, how it should come up scientifically and how things should be dealt with scientific knowledge. That is why, he created an agency in Krishi Bhawan which would directly contact the district headquarters to warn them about cyclone or drought or flood so that they may be prepared and proceed properly. Everything was directly controlled by Krishi Bhawan. That was a successful work done before 14 years. But what happened to that system? Why Orissa has this type of suffering? It is because the system is not properly followed. That is the main point. I want to submit that for the past 50 years, infrastructure, wealth and assets were created. But how are we protecting them? How are we reconstructing it? That is the question which is before this Government now. Therefore, I request the Government that it should approach the issue from that angle.

Now, let this Government take a challenge. Let the Government think that in the last fifty years they have constructed India like this, they have developed India like this, they have constructed the dams, developed agriculture and industry like this and poor people have come up in their lives. It has to think how it is going to do it, how more constructively it is going to do it, how systematically it is going to do it, and how scientifically it is going to do it. That should be their approach rather than maligning the late leader Shri Rajiv Gandhi by trying to bring him to book in some other way, thereby, they are making a political party also face certain unnecessary things before this august Parliament.

Sir, I came with all the dreams after twenty two years. I ought to have come during the Seventh Lok Sabha. But I came during the 13th Lok Sabha. I feel that this Parliament should give more to the poor people. After observing all the learned speakers, I found one thing. We have got the third-tier of Government. But that has been fully forgotten by the Central Government as well as the State Governments. When we are dealing with the people, look at the people as a sect, as belonging to a territorial area where they are casteless. When they are facing a disaster, they are casteless. There is no religion. There is nothing. They are suffering a lot. The human beings are suffering along with other animals, fishes etc. The fishermen are suffering. In fact, everybody is suffering. Mr. Minister, how are you approaching them? You are having a very big Commission spending money. People are travelling by air. You are spending so much of money on that count. Kindly stop going by air. Please give that money, say Rs.30 lakh, to the poor people. They will have food at least for two or three days. Why should the Government not approach the small sect of people from that angle? The Panchayats should be taken into consideration. Whatever fund the Central Government wants to give, let it give to the Panchayats. That is the Kamaraj Plan. Shri Kamaraj had done it in Tamil Nadu. If the Central Government wants to give Rs.10 crore, the State will in turn add Rs.10 crore and this Rs.20 crore will be divided among the villages. The Panchayats will get the money. Village maramath will be there. Villages will participate in it. Villages will do the flood control work. They will do the drought relief work. They will construct the dams. They will have the canals and they will have everything in their own village. In the past, they protected it as their own asset. They treated it as the community asset. Why is the community approach now missing? Why are the assets abandoned? It is because people are thinking that it is not their work, they have to suffer, they have to beg and they have to get something during that relief period. They think that the officers will go away, politicians will go away and the Ministers will go away. This is the attitude. Kindly change the attitude. Kindly give the money to the ordinary poor people. They know how to tackle the problem. Please do not think that they are not having any scientific knowledge. They have the scientific knowledge. They know how to tackle the problem and how to face the problem when there is a cyclone or any flood or drought.

There is another aspect. Now, we are having the Insurance Company Bill before us. The point is that the private insurance companies are not going to give any fund to the poor people. If we are demanding for the cyclone-affected people, there should be insurance cover. For the flood-affected people, there should be insurance. For the drought-hit people, there should be insurance. There should be crop insurance. There should be animal insurance. There should be assets insurance, house insurance, job insurance and everthing should be there. Do you think that the private insurance companies will come forward to help such people? No. They will ask for some assets as a guarantee. Therefore, the Government has to make up its kind about it.

In the morning, the Finance Minister assured us that the LIC and the GIC would be there to take care of such things. Please take that challenge and come forward with this type of an insurance to the common man and the poor people. Let them participate in such events. Let the Panchayat pay some amount. Let the individual pay some amount. Let the State Government pay more than that. Let the Union Government pay much more than that. In that way, kindly protect the ordinary people who are suffering in the villages. They need houses. They need shelters. Permanent shelters should be there. In Tamil Nadu, it is a thing which is happening. In Tamil Nadu, we are having a permanent structure for the cyclone-hit areas. We are having all types of things but the management is something different.

The other point is that the State Governments are diverting the funds. It is happening in every State because the State Governments could not pay the salaries of their employees. Therefore, they are diverting the money. Why should the Central Government give the money to the State Governments? It should give the money directly to the Panchayats. Shri Rajiv Gandhi had done it when he was the Prime Minister. He had sent a Demand Draft in the name of the President of the Panchayat Union. That was the revolution. That was a thing which happened during Shri Rajiv Gandhi's regime. Why I am saying this is because I was the Panchayat Union Chairman of my village. I know how people were happy. All the villagers were surrounding me. Thousands of people were sitting. I was showing the draft sent to me. When Shri Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, he sent Rs.20,000/- to the President of the Panchayat. People decided to make the road themselves. They also participated in the work, getting only half of the wages.

18.00 hrs.

They participated with half wages and they have constructed houses for the Scheduled Castes.

SHRI VIJENDRA PAL SINGH (BHILWARA): If you send one rupee from here, only 10 paise reaches the village panchayat. Do you know that?