Assam to seek damages from NEEPCO; gets China's help for flood

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Guwahati, Jun 18 (UNI) The Assam government will press for compensation from the NEEPCO for the death and damage caused by flash floods in northern Assam by the sudden release of water from its dam, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi informed today.

The government is also pursuing the issue of forewarning before release of excess water with Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan through the Central government, and China's help in controlling the flood situation in the state was also being enlisted, he added. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee assured by China that it would not change the natural course of its rivers that flow down to India. China had also assured on information sharing, Mr Gogoi said.

On release of water by North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), he said, '' A committee has been formed and it will soon visit NEEPCO office and its under-construction dams in Arunachal Pradesh to assess the situation and submit the extent of damages to be claimed.

Excess water released from the Ranganadi project, of the (NEEPCO), that was being constructed at Papumpare district of Arunachal on Saturday had submerged North Lakhimpur district of Assam, killing seven people.

Mr Gogoi, who had visited the district yesterday, said loss of life and property could have been checked to a great extent if the NEEPCO had issued a forewarning as it did earlier while releasing excess water again.

However, the quantity was less and no new damage was caused, he said, adding that NEEPCO has also been asked to release water in smaller volume.

The Chief Minister informed that the Corporation has agreed to work in coordination after accepting that it had released the water without warning, which was itself a positive sign in finding a permanent solution. The Deputy Commissioners have also been instructed to maintain coordination with their counterparts in Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan to avoid such disasters, he added.

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