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Centre should provide Rs 5,000 crore for Maharashtra: Advani

Source: PTI
August 06, 2005 15:59 IST
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Bharatiya Janata Party president Lal Kishenchand Advani on Saturday demanded that the Centre provide Rs 5,000 crore for relief work following the heavy rains in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, which has claimed over 1,000 lives.

The Centre should also expeditiously set up a National Disaster Management Authority, which should be a statutory body, Advani told reporters in Mumbai.

The National Disaster Management Authority was recommended by the National Disaster Management Committee, headed by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar as its vice chairman, he said.

Advani, who is on a two-day visit to the flood-affected areas of Mumbai and other parts of the state, was speaking to reporters after visiting landslide-affected Saki Naka, Kalina and Rawalpada in north Mumbai.

Observing that such an authority already exists in Gujarat and has won praise even from the United Nations, the leader of opposition said, "Maharashtra should also follow suit."

Advani said the Gujarat government would donate Rs 10 crore for relief work and the other four BJP-ruled states -- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan -- would donate Rs 5 crore each for the same.

All BJP members in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha would also donate a month's salary towards the relief work, he said.

"Maharashtra BJP leader Gopinath Munde has also informed me that BJP legistators in the state would also donate their one month's salary for the cause," Advani added.

"I salute Mumbaikars who helped themselves and each other in tiding over the flood situation," Advani said adding, "it is a special responsibility of the central government and also the people of the country to help Maharashtra in this time of crisis."

"This is not the time to bring politics in the way. The relief work has been handled, but the state government should look into the shortcomings as far as drainage system and lack of other infrastructure in Mumbai is concerned," he said.

The state government should consult experts in the country and prepare a Mumbai Infrastructure Development Plan to ensure that there is no damage caused due to similar natural calamity in future, he said.

Advani said it would be useful if a special session of the state legislature is held to discuss the flood situation.

To a query if the influx of migrants to Mumbai had contributed to the situation, the BJP president said the problem is not just confined to urban influx, but also related to rural unemployment.

"It is a democracy and the Constitution has given everyone a fundamental right to go to any part of the country he chooses," he added.

When asked if his party supported the idea of Mumbai being made a Union Territory, Advani said, "There is no need for such a thing. I do not agree with the idea."

To a query if the heavy rains had also washed away cordial relations between BJP and its ally Shiv Sena, Advani said, "Nothing like that... the relations are still cordial."

Advani will be visiting Jui village in Raigad district and Chiplun in Ratnagiri district on Sunday.

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