Telangana Poll Panel Puts Brakes on Distribution of Flood Relief Funds

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Roads blocked due to heavy rain flood water in Hafeez Baba Nagar in Hyderabad on October 18, 2020. — IANS

A day after announcing the poll schedule for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the poll panel asked the government to stop distribution of Rs 10,000 as relief among people affected by last month’s heavy rains and floods

HYDERABAD — The Telangana State Election Commission on Wednesday asked the state government to put on hold distribution of flood relief funds among people in Greater Hyderabad as this is likely to affect the model code of conduct.

A day after announcing the poll schedule for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the poll panel asked the government to stop distribution of Rs 10,000 as relief among people affected by last month’s heavy rains and floods in and around Hyderabad.

In a letter to the government, TSEC Secretary Ashok Kumar said distribution of aid may be resumed after declaration of results on December 4.

Elections to 150-member GHMC will be held on December 1.

“I request you to put on hold the registration and distribution of relief to the flood effected families in the GHMC limits till declaration of results as it is attracting model code of conduct and likely to influence the electors,” reads the letter sent to Arvind Kumar, Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development.

While announcing the poll schedule on Tuesday, State Election Commissioner C. Parthasarathi had said that the government may continue distribution of flood relief funds as it was an ongoing programme.

The opposition parties, however, cried foul, saying that the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is influencing the voters.

The direction to stop distribution came even as thousands of people were queued up at Mee Seva centres to apply for the financial aid.

A stampede-like situation was seen at dozens of centres across the city as people stood in queues for hours and without adhering to Covid-19 safety norms to apply for Rs 10,000.

Heavy rains and floods on October 14-15 had battered the city and outskirts, killing about 50 people and inundating hundreds of colonies.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had announced that every affected family will be provided Rs 10,000. The government had released Rs 550 crore for the purpose.

The authorities claimed to have disbursed more than Rs 470 crore in cash to 4,75,871 families in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and adjoining municipalities.

However, many people in the affected areas complained that they have not received the aid.

Municipal Administration Minister K. T.Rama Rao had announced on Sunday that those who have not received the aid can apply through Mee Seva centres. He said the officials concerned would visit the houses of the applicants and the amount will be credited in the bank accounts of the eligible. From Monday, the Mee Seva centres were flooded with applicants.

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