Flood Toll in N-E Crosses 100, Assam CM Attacks Centre for Discrimination
Assam and Meghalaya are battling with one of the worst floods
NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh along with Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju will be taking an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Garo Hills and Assam in order to assess the situation and the damage.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi has alleged that the Centre is discriminating against the State in terms of providing flood-assistance. In addition, he added that no package has been announced by the government yet despite the ‘unprecedented calamity.’
“The Prime Minister not only visited Jammu and Kashmir but announced a special package for the flood-hit State immediately. In the case of Goalpara in Assam which faced unprecedented catastrophe like that of Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister did not find time to visit the State nor did he announce any special package. Much before the latest deluge, the State has had experienced two floods resulting in huge losses of lives and property. Why is this discrimination being meted out to the people of Assam?” asked the Chief Minister in a statement.
The death toll has crossed 100 in the flood-hit areas of Meghalaya and Assam. The catastrophic floods have taken the lives of 55 people in Meghalaya while in Assam, the numbers are as high as 67.
Just when the waters were receding and the flood-ravaged districts were limping back to normalcy, a day-long torrential rains in the Garo Hills in Meghalaya provoked fresh rounds of landslides and panic in not only its own state but also in the adjoining state of Assam.
Going by a government statement which was issued on Tuesday, lights howers are very likely to occur in some places in the Garo Hills in the next few days.
The flash floods and landslides, triggered by heavy rains has forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes, left numerous marooned and has affected lakhs of people.
Besides this, gigantic losses in terms of property, infrastructure, cropped land and dwelling units have been suffered by both the north-east states.
While Meghalaya has sought Central assistance of Rs 2000 crore, Assam has sought immediate release of Rs 1000 crore for tiding over the extensive damages to infrastructure and properties.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Mukul Sangma appealed to the citizens to donate generously to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund aimed at rebuilding the lives of those affected by flood and landslide.
"We need generous contributions from all those who care to extend a helping hand. Your little contributions can make a difference," the Chief Minister said in a public appeal today.
On the other hand, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday refuted Union Minister of State (Independent) Sarbananda Sonowal’s claim that the state government has failed to utilise Central funds for disaster relief. “The state government has utilised the central allocation for disaster relief in the last fiscal, but the Centre is yet to release its share this year,” he said in a statement.
Sonowal, who was sent along with Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju by the Centre earlier to review the flood situation in Assam and Meghalaya, had alleged that Rs 344 crore provided by the Centre earlier was lying unutilised in the State Disaster Relief Fund.
The Army, NDRF and SDRF,who were continuously working on rescue mission have now shifted its operations to relief.
The NDRF is operating 16 teams in the two states and has rescued close to 6,000 people and distributed 80 quintals of food and other essential items to the people who are marooned.
Both the states are on high alert, particularly after fresh rounds of heavy rains and landslides, even though the water level of all the rivers and rivulets are receding.
Officials said that the rehabilitation of the affected people would take several months as gushing water from the Garo hills has completely damaged houses in Assam.
In Assam, the Revenue and Disaster Management Department has collated estimated reports from 23 flood-hit districts of the state -- Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dhubri, Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Golaghat, Jorhat, Kamrup (M), Kamrup, Karbi Anglong, Karimganj, Kokrajhar, Lakhimpur, Morigaon, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar, Sonitpur, Tinsukia and Udalguri.
"Over 42 lakh people of the state have been affected during the three waves of floods while 4,446 villages have been hit. A total of 54,088 houses have been fully damaged while 82,095 houses are partially damaged," said officials of the revenue and disaster management.
While thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes and live in the camps in the state, an equally high number is also taking shelter on the roads and highways.
The condition of the camps are also in question in Assam.
It was reported the the condition of the camps at Balijana Girls’ School, Kalyanpur High School and Bhalukdubi Garo Primary School, where the chief minister had to visit, apparently changed overnight.
In a latest move, the Assam government would soon be constituting a Group of Ministers (GoM) in order to study the causes of devastation wrecked by these devastating floods in Kamrup and Goalpara districts. The GOM would also suggest suitable and effective measures for mitigating the risk of flooding.
In the West Garo Hills, over two lakh people have been affected, spread over 200 villages. Deputy Chief Minister Roytre C Laloo had said that properties including road, houses, livestock and agriculture worth about Rs 2,000 crore were damaged in the calamity.
The Prime Minister had announced that while Rs 2 lakh will be provided as ex gratia to the relatives of the deceased, Rs 50,000 will be released to the injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund. However, the State Government is yet to release any ex gratia for the relatives of the deceased and also for the injured from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
While the power supply has been restored in most places in Meghalaya,restoration work is under progress. Water supply is a little problem as it remains disrupted but alternative arrangements are being made through water tankers and other temporary measures to supply water.
Stock of medicines and medical personnel are also adequate and there has been no report of any outbreak of epidemics yet.