Patna: Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan today charged the Bihar government with showing “sloppy” attitude to natural calamities like storms and earthquakes saying while the Centre was time and again promising to extend all help, the Nitish Kumar ministry was not utilising it.
“The sloppy attitude of Bihar government could be assessed from the fact that it has neither sent report on the extent of damage by tropical storm on April 21 nor on the earthquake two days ago,” Paswan, who is President of Lok Janshakti Party - an ally of BJP in NDA, told reporters.
Asked if the Centre is considering the recent calamity in Bihar including squall in March as national calamity, Paswan said “it could be considered only after Bihar government sends report of damage”.
While states like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh had sent their reports long ago on damage to crops due to adverse weather condition, Bihar government had not done so even after several reminders.
On earthquake that has rocked Bihar, Paswan said he had extensively toured different parts of the state after Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally telephoned him.
“During the tour of different districts like Khagaria, Samastipur, Araria, Kisanganj, Darbhanga, Munger among others, I talked to district magistrates and other officials but they gave me vague answers on the loss of life and damage to houses and crops,” he said.
“This evening the prime minister would be holding a meeting on quake in which I'll convey him all these things,” he said.
“While criss-crossing various parts of the state particularly in rural areas I saw people taking shelter on roads and raising hands for help but there seemed nobody for their help,” Paswan said.
“I have received complaints from people in some places that officials were not recording the deaths in storm and quake claiming that those were natural deaths,” he said. “I do not know whether this sloppiness is due to lack of command over officers or bad intention of the state government,” the Union Food Minister alleged.
On Chief Minister Nitish Kumar extending helping hand to Nepal devastated by the earthquake, Paswan took potshots at his rival and said “he should concentrate on providing succour to sufferers of storm and quake in Bihar. The Centre is taking care of Nepal needs.”
He said the Bihar government which was providing Rs 4 lakh as compensation to kin of dead in storm and quake should provide Rs 2 lakh to injured.