Victims of flood in Assam are set to get cash for a couple of items they were entitled to but never received for five years.The Assam Disaster Management Manual, 2015, prescribes utensils and clothes for the flood-affected people.Those staying in designated relief camps as well as those marooned and living in camp-like situation will now be given ₹5,000 each for purchasing these items. The payment would be made through direct benefit transfer.“The Deputy Commissioners of the districts have been asked to ensure the immediate transfer of ₹3,800 for purchase of utensils and ₹1,800 for purchase of clothes to the bank account of the head of the flood-affected families,” Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.“This has been in the manual, but will be implemented more or less for the first time,” he added.The Deputy Commissioners have also been asked to ensure distribution of cattle feed and free textbooks to school children in the flood-affected areas besides settling claims for rehabilitation grants for partially or fully damaged houses within one month.Relief and rehabilitation workers have been providing rice, pulses, salt, mustard oil, baby food, bleaching powder, phenyl, tarpaulin and generic medicines. Organisations such as All Assam Students’ Union said the State government has not been providing enough for the victims of the flood that has so far claimed the lives of 57 humans, 523 domestic animals and fowls and 199 wild animals including 17 one-horned rhinos in Kaziranga National Park.
In his first public address in the Kashmir valley since assuming office, Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu on Friday laid emphasis on empowering grass-roots institutions.“The government is working on implementation of the 73rd and 74th amendments of Panchayat Raj Act to empower Panchayat members to work more effectively across the Union Territory of J&K,” said Mr. Murmu, who assumed office on October 31.The incorporation of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts, 1992, would give constitutional status to panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in J&K and make them more powerful, he added.Mr. Murmu chose a ‘Back to Village’ programme at Sonpah, Beerwah in Budgam district to make his first public appearance. The meet, which was held under heavy security cover, was attended by more than 300 locals. The Lt. Governor was accompanied by Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam.“The ongoing programme is meant to empower people at grass-roots level. A review of Prime Minister’s package shall also be taken for its equitable implementation across J&K. Special focus is being given on the completion of 2,500 languishing projects, out of which half of the projects have been completed,” he said.Mr. Murmu said the ‘Back to Village’ programme was going smoothly across J&K and saw overwhelming response, four days after militants targeted it. “The ongoing programme has generated massive response from the public; however, unfortunately some people are trying to sabotage it in some areas,” he added.Condemning the militant attack at Hakura in Anantnag, in which a local sarpanch and an officer lost their lives, the Lt. Governor said, “such incidents are aimed at disrupting the people-centric welfare programmes and schemes. These inhuman and dastardly acts are not going to deter the government in its resolve to reach out to the people and usher a new era of participatory development.”Meanwhile, Mr. Murmu announced a special ex-gratia of ₹30 lakh in favour of the next of kin of the deceased government employee Sheikh Zahoor Ahmed.