Guwahati: At a time when Assam is reeling under floods, Union minister VK Singh on Friday said such a situation is "nothing new" to the state and the DoNER ministry, which he heads, "is not responsible" to deal with it.
"Flood condition is nothing new to Assam. I have been dealing with floods in Assam since 1970 onwards," he told reporters here.
On his and his ministry`s role in finding a way to handle this perennial problem, Singh said, "DoNER has got no role in flood control. It is the job of Ministry of Water Resources. DoNER funds are not enough even to contribute to type of things that the state require."
"I can be initiator. I can be catalyst. I can assist. I can suggest. I can push. But if you are thinking that DoNER is going to do flood control, I am sorry that is not done," he said.
He said DoNER`s role is to carry forward development work in the field of infrastructure, education, health sector, employment and skills among others.
When told that floods create huge challenge and destroy a lot of developmental works, Singh said, "It is not being stopped but flood causes a damage to life and property. So let us separate it out. Let`s not get just stuck on floods. Flood is not just development. Flood is only a part of the issue."
He said silting of Brahmaputra is a big problem and nobody gave a serious thought on this over the years.
Singh also said he will recommend the Water Resources Ministry to conduct an in-depth study on the Brahmaputra considering various aspects.
The overall flood situation in the state is still serious with several districts, including Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Nagaon, Morigaon, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Golaghat and Sonitpur, reeling under the impact of the swirling waters. Two persons have died so far and nearly two lakh people have been affected.
According to the Economic Survey, Assam for 2013-14, which was tabled in the Assembly during the ongoing Budget session, the state suffers an average loss to the tune of Rs 200 crore every year due to the devastating floods with nearly 40 per cent of the state`s total land declared as flood-prone.