‘‘Advice is sought before floods, but speaking is not allowed. You only have to listen. … Public representatives are silent. If you speak, you will be labelled as a rebel. If you give advice, nobody will follow. Speaking is disallowed,’’ Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, BJP MP from Kaiserganj, UP, told the media while visiting his constituency to review arrangements made for the flood-hit people in the state. He lashed out at his party’s government for shoddy preparations for floods that have wreaked havoc in at least 1370 villages in 18 different districts of Uttar Pradesh that were affected by the floods. Singh had to use a tractor to reach his residence in Gonda, local media reports mentioned. The next day, Singh was quizzed by media persons when he was seen taking rounds of flood-affected areas in Gonda travelling on a tractor. Asked about the reason, Singh said it was because the tractor was the only source of transportation in such deep water. Asked about the Gonda administration’s claims that it had provided boats and relief material were being distributed to the people, Singh told that it was better not to ask about the district administration.
‘‘Earlier, whichever government used to be in power, a meeting would be held before floods for preparation. I don’t think any meeting was held [this time]. ‘Bhagwan ke bharose log hain’ [People are left on their own]. People are waiting for water to recede…. I have never seen such shoddy preparation in my life. The tragedy is that we can’t even cry. We can’t even express our feelings,’’ he said.
After conducting a routine aerial survey of the flood-hit districts Yogi Adityanath, the BJP chief minister of UP, customarily observed that ‘‘There has been heavy rain in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and hence water level in Chambal, Betwa and tributary rivers have increased leading to increase in water level in Ganga and Yamuna,’’ conveniently parrying the pertinent question about utter failure in adopting flood-resisting measures and complete mismanagement in providing prompt relief and rehabilitation of the flood-affected people. And then most hypocritically he claimed that planned efforts by his government in the past five years have resulted in unprecedented reduction in the number of districts that were ravaged by floods every monsoon. Presiding over a review meeting to assess the preparedness for floods, he also hastened to add that the state government has found a permanent solution for floods which led to extensive loss of lives and property in the state for decades. What is noteworthy that in 2021, when floods had devastated the same Gonda, Bahraich and Balrampur districts, he had said that owing to heavy rains in Nepal, the water levels in rivers Rapti and Burhi Rapti have increased, leading to the flooding of nearby areas.
So, the alibi is one and the sames—rains elsewhere is causing flood in UP. Also he has not elaborated what grandiose plan he has envisaged to stall recurrence of this disaster taking a heavy toll of life and property besides large scale eviction of people from their home and hearth. (Source: Zee News 04-09-21, Times of India 30-06-22, The Hindu 31-08-22, Outlook 15-09-2, The Print 15-10-22)