New Delhi: Cricketer-turned BJP MP Navjot
Singh Sidhu today caused some embarrassment to SAD-BJP
government in Punjab when he said it was caught napping and
had not done enough to control floods in the state.
"The floods were caused because of poor water management.
The governments (of Punjab and Haryana) are directly involved
as inspection (of flood prone areas) should have been
completed by June 30," Sidhu told reporters.
BJP President Nitin Gadkari had formed a two-member team
comprising of Sidhu and party secretary Abhimanyu, to visit
the flood-affected areas of the two states. They submitted a
report to Gadkari yesterday.
The party will raise the issue on the first day of the
forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament.
"Preventive mechanism was totally missing. There should
have been some plan for this," Sidhu said, adding that no
efforts were made for desilting and building embankments.
"No meeting at ministerial level has taken place on the
issue (in the two states)," Sidhu alleged.
The Amritsar MP used a fair sprinkling of "Sidhuisms"
too -- "We have converted triumph into failure" and "It is
better to prevent and prepare than to repent and repair".
The committee has demanded that Rs 25,000 per acre
compensation should be given to each farmer affected by the
floods and announcement of a special package for the region.
However, when told that in Punjab his party was part of
the government, Sidhu said, "Punjab is not as affected as
Haryana.... This is not the time to point fingers but to apply
balm on those affected."
The report claims that in Haryana the state government
had diverted relief funds to NREGA.
"Rs 75 crore was given by Government of India to Haryana
for flood management but of this only Rs 23 crore was spent.
Of this 90 per cent has not been accounted for," Sidhu said.
Southern part of Haryana is facing a drought while the
northern part is flooded, the report said.
The affected areas have seen power cut and lack of food
while there is no fodder for animals, according to the BJP.
Abhimanyu said this was a "man-made" disaster as floods
had occurred despite below average rainfall.
"A blessing (rains) has been turned into a curse...
Government response in the matter has been pathetic," he said.