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NONGPOH| July 19, 2019:

As floods continue to ravage the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Friday said that they are yet to receive any official communication from the Centre on the state government’s plea for financial help.

“We have appealed and asked for funds but we have not received any official communication; hopefully we will be receiving some financial help” Conrad said on the sideline of a programme in Nongpoh, Ri Bhoi district here today.

He, however, informed that the government of India keeps on sending funds to the state disaster relief fund as per requirement. “In the earlier years, we had received some money so we are using that money for the time being,” he added.

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When asked about the response of the citizens towards the appeal made by the CM on Thursday towards the cause of Garo Hills, Conrad said “The response is very positive; a lot of people have come in to help and hope we will get more help in the future.”

Meanwhile, earlier today after the cabinet meeting in Shillong, Home Minster, James PK Sangma informed that the Cabinet Ministers have agreed to contribute to Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

Informing that the flood situation in Garo Hills also came up for discussion in the Cabinet, Sangma said that they cannot set a particular amount for any ministers to contribute.

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“We cannot ask the Ministers to contribute their one month salary. This contribution is a voluntarily one. It depends on the individual Ministers to decide how much they want to contribute,” said the Home Minister.

While urging the people of the State to contribute to the relief fund, he said that the donation to the relief fund is not only about the present flood situation in Garo Hills but the national disaster which may happen in the future.

When asked if the Government had appeal to the MLAs to make the contribution, he said that the government had made a general appeal to the citizens which implies that the same goes to the MLAs.

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“The Chief Minister had met Union Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah to brief him on the flood situation in Garo Hills..We have met various Union Ministers and seeking central assistance since we are facing with the worse flood situations,” Sangma said.

On the demand of the MLAs to declare the flood situation in Garo Hills as a natural disaster, he said that the Government would first examine before taking a final call on this issue.

When asked how severe the flood situation in the State, Sangma said that he does not have the answers on the factors which have led to this flood. “The water from Brahmaputra has found its way back to the plain belt in Garo Hills which is one of the factors for this flood. We have also seen that the embankment has been eroded. But there are numerous factors which have led to the flood situation,” Meghalaya Home Minister said.

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To a question if the flood in Shillong city is due to the poor drainage system, he said that they are still examining if the flood in the city is due to the drainage system. “We will try to find the causes for the flood in various parts of the city,” he said.

Replying to a query, he said that as of now, only the NDRF and SDRF are involved in the rescue operations. ‘But it is unfortunate that some lives have been lost,” Meghalaya Home Minister said.

He said that the Government is yet to take an assessment on the damages and people who have been affected by the floods.

“At the moment we are focusing on the relief measures. The assessment will be done at a later stage,” Sangma said.

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