Guwahati, Aug 1: "Flood in Chennai, attacks in Paris, Bangladesh...everybody prays for them. Flood in Assam, nobody bats an eye." This social media post aptly describes the plight of the flood victims of Assam, which is reeling under one of the worst natural calamities in a decade.
The entire state is battling massive floods for the last one month but there is hardly any media coverage or social media outrage, which is generally the trend if anything as drastic as Assam flood hits the nation.
The irony of the situation is that when floods in Assam have killed 31 and displaced 18 lakhs people so far, media attention was mostly focused on waterlogging in Gurugram, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
"There is nothing wrong in highlighting the plight of mega cities like Bengaluru and Gurugram. However, the constant ignorance on the part of the centre and the media about Assam's massive natural calamity is beyond our understanding," said veteran Guwahati-based journalist Rupam Barua.
The anger of social media users in Assam is not just directed against the media, but they also blame the previous and current governments at the centre for failing to provide succour to the residents of the northeastern state.
"Where are the great national leaders with dynamic speech and golden promises now when our state Assam is submerged in floods since 1 month. Govt keep on changing time to time but attitude towards Assam remains the same...it's high time for our regional leaders to think about the issue...," wrote Ajitesh Dey on his Facebook page.
As the river Brahmaputra was flowing above the danger mark, there was a fear that Guwahati-the biggest city in the region-might be inundated. "It was a valid fear. We have seen how water from Brahmaputra flooded several places in the city. Thankfully, river water has receded a bit. Otherwise, it would have caused huge devastation. The situation is still critical," said Arman Ali, Guwahati-based activist.
The ongoing floods have affected lakhs of people in 22 districts of the state. More than 3,300 villages have been affected, as per government reports. The animals are the worst victims during these testing times in the state. Almost 80 percent of the Kaziranga national park, home to the one-horned rhino, is submerged in water.
"Three rhinos, seven rhino calves and more than 18 deer have been killed in the deluge. This is the worst flood in Kaziranga since 1988," said government reports.
Sources in the Congress party say Union home minister Rajnath Singh's visit to the state on Saturday (July 30) to take stock of the situation is too little, too late.
After an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Assam, and meeting the victims in Morigaon district, Singh said, "The situation is grim." "No efforts are being spared (to help) and the people are satisfied with government's response," he added.
"Declaring floods as a national calamity is not a solution to the problem. There is a need for an action plan to deal with such serious flood situation," he said.
Critics of both the state and central governments say if an early plan to deal with floods in the state is not envisioned and executed, then the anger of the people won't be just restricted to the social media, but may soon spill out on to the roads.