Assam floods and conspiracy of silence by Congress, BJP

Written by: Maitreyee Boruah
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It is unfortunate that like any other Indian election, Assam Assembly Elections 2016 too has been hijacked by political personalities and pre-poll alliances stitched up by various parties rather than grave matters of concern affecting the voters.

Every year floods create havoc in the northeastern state. Because of floods hundreds of people get killed every year (which mostly go unreported), farmlands and properties worth millions get destroyed and leave thousands homeless.

Assam flood

Yes, floods are an annual ritual in Assam--a grim reality that leaves large-scale destruction.
However, no political party is talking about it.

The conspiracy of silence practiced by all major political parties-Congress, BJP, AGP (AsomGanaParishad) and AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front) - in the run-up to the elections scheduled in April is baffling.

Perhaps, such an important issue like flood does not churn votes. Only controversies, allegations and counter-allegations against leaders are enough to bring the voters to the polling booths.

In September last year, massive floods affected more than 1.5 million people and forced more than 2,00,000 people to seek refuge in relief camps, according to government records. The floods killed more than 50 people.

Experts say human loss could be more as most cases go unreported.

Take for instance the case of Guwahati-northeast region's biggest city. Guwahati also featured as the only city in the entire region in Centre's smart city list of 20.

It is the same city which in recent times has suffered havoc because of nature's vagary, coupled with administration's failure to build a strong infrastructure to stand floods.

A mild shower leaves the city knee-deep in water. 

"Guwahatians dread rains. Whenever it rains it leaves the city under water. Monsoon season is the worst. The entire city gets submerged in water. It looks like an island. In such a situation, life comes to a standstill," lamented disabled rights activist Arman Ali.

Ali's house is located on the busy GS Road of the city. "My neighbourhood is located in the heart of the city. Even our area gets inundated during floods. It is a sad picture," he added.

Like Ali, residents of the entire city are unhappy that the administration has failed the people.

"What is the use of having a government which does not care for its people? Political parties are not bothered about annual floods. They don't have a solution. They don't even talk about floods, forget about coming up with measures to tackle floods," said anthropologist Subir Kumar Baruah.

Assam Floods 2

"If the situation of Guwahati is so miserable, imagine the plight of people in the rural areas of the state. During floods, we see thousands in the hinterlands taking shelter on highways connecting the state with the rest of the region. If our own politicians are not serious in solving our issues, why would the Centre care?" Baruah asked.

As election dates are coming closer, voters are eagerly waiting for political parties to announce their policies to fight the floods in the coming years.

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