HOME MINISTER VISITS N-E FLOOD AREAS, ASSURES ALL HELP
Death toll in the northeast floods have touched 100
NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited the flood-affected areas of Garo Hills and Assam and assured the state authorities of all possible help to deal with the crisis.
Stating that the Centre has already released an amount of Rs.386 crore for Assam and Rs.123 crore for Meghalaya, the Union Home Minister further added that an additional amount of Rs.286 crore and Rs.8 crore has also been sanctioned for Assam and the worst-hit Garo Hills respectively, in order to deal with the situation and to ensure relief and rehabilitation.
“This is only initial sanction. The central government would give all the support to the state governments to deal with the disaster,” he said.
Singh also met the chief ministers of both the flood-affected states and assured them of all possible help and assistance from the government. In addition, he also asked them to submit a memorandum.
"I have asked the chief ministers to submit the memorandum to the Centre as early as possible so that we can soon send an inter-ministerial team to the affected states to maximize our assistance," he stated.
While the Assam government has already submitted the memorandum to Singh, the Meghalaya Chief Minister said that the government was on the process of preparing the memorandum seeking which will highlight the damages and rebuilding exercise.
As per the Assam memorandum, the state is seeking Rs 2010 crore for damaged infrastructure, Rs 660 crore for rescue and relief operations and Rs 6,700 crore as special assistance that includes Rs 3,500 crore for raising and strengthening embankments and Rs 1,000 crore for mitigating floods in Guwahati.
Earlier, Tarun Gogoi had accused the Centre of discriminating against the State in terms of providing flood-assistance, adding that no package has been announced by the government yet despite the ‘unprecedented calamity.’
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.
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, both the states have suffered gigantic losses in terms of property, infrastructure, cropped land and dwelling units as well.
The Army, NDRF and SDRF, who were continuously working on rescue mission have now shifted its operations to relief.
Rehabilitation of the affected people would take several months even though the rescue work has almost been completed.
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.
On the other hand, in Meghalaya, the deluge has affected more than two lakh people submerging at least 1,172 villages under the flood waters.
While tens of 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.
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.
The Home Minister,during his visit also underscored the need to improve the telecommunication connectivity and raising a dedicated battalion of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to tackle such natural calamities.
“I have seen the quantum of damages in Meghalaya and Assam. I assure that both the state will get full cooperation from the centre to undertake rebuilding exercise”, said Singh after undertaking the aerial surveys of the flood-ravaged areas.
Expressing concerns over the huge destruction that the floods have caused, he stated “We are very much saddened by the loss of lives and damage to property. The central government will help the state governments to tide over the crisis”.