BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra was among those airlifted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters in flood-hit Datia district of Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday.
The incident kicked up a political row in the state with the opposition Congress dubbing the development as an unwanted attempt by the home minister to become “Spiderman.” The Congress also termed the entire act as dangerous for the minister’s safety, besides amounting to misutilization of the resources, which should ideally be used only to rescue stranded commoners, who unnecessarily joined the rescue operations.
The incident happened in Kotra village of Datia district of state’s Gwalior-Chambal region. Mishra, who is also the local BJP MLA from Datia, had conducted an aerial survey and also embarked on SDRF boats on Wednesday to personally supervise efforts in the flood-hit areas of Datia (his assembly constituency) and Gwalior’s Dabra (his former constituency).
Coming to know about around nine villagers being stuck atop the village panchayat building since Tuesday night, the home minister travelled by the SDRF boat to the spot in Kotra village — around 30 km from Datia district headquarters.
According to official sources associated with the home minister, on reaching the concerned building, the SDRF boat ferried by the minister got stuck in the floodwaters owing to a tree collapse, making its return with many people difficult.
Subsequently, one of the IAF helicopters already engaged in rescue operations was flown to rescue the villagers as well as the minister. The IAF helicopter flew to the Kotra village and airlifted the stranded villagers, the home minister and security staff accompanying him.
The opposition Congress’ state media cell vice-president Bhupendra Gupta, meanwhile, questioned entire act. “It’s the NDRF and SDRF which conduct rescue operations on ground, while the ministers should only supervise the operations. What was the need for the minister to go there and attempt becoming Spiderman. Such acts are inappropriate for a minister’s safety and also amount to misutilization of resources. Such acts will give birth to dangerous tradition,” Gupta said.