Congress pats its back for low toll

Congress pats its back for low toll

As Odisha struggled to come to terms with the effects of cyclone Phailin, the Congress on Monday sought to politicise the issue by claiming credit for accurate forecast and effective monitoring of the tropical storm.

The Congress directed a visibly unwell Union Earth Sciences Minister S Jaipal Reddy to address a press conference at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters, listing the initiatives taken by the United Progressive alliance (UPA) government in modernising the weather office.

Reddy said scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted the cyclone's path and intensity accurately, which helped the government evacuate nearly 10 lakh people to safety.

“These are investments made during the UPA regime, and none of us can be a sanyasi (saint). Why should you grudge if I give credit to the UPA?” asked Reddy when questioned why he was addressing a press conference using the party forum.

Reddy appeared to prove the proverb “Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan” correct when he sought to distance the party from the dismal performance of the authorities in tackling the flash floods in Uttarakhand in June.

“Uttarakhand was a multi-dimensional disaster. It did not occur because of rain alone, but also due to degradation of the environment. The tragedy was caused as dams breached and the environment was enfeebled. So, it was a tragedy of tremendous magnitude,” he said.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullapally Ramachandran listed out the initiatives taken by the National Disaster Management Authority in coordinating the massive evacuation operations.

He steered clear of questions as to how much credit he would give to the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the BJD government in Odisha.

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