During Modi’s visit, flood-hit Assam wants solution to erosion
Guwahati, July 31: Finally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Assam on Tuesday to take stock of the flood situation. Assam has been reeling under floods since June.
Around 85 people have died and more than 2.08 lakh hectares of crop land have been damaged due to floods in the northeastern state, as per official records.
In recent times, Modi has received a lot of criticism for neglecting the tragedy of flood-hit people of Assam. The opposition parties in the state have been asking the PM to visit the state since early July to get first-hand knowledge of the sufferings of the people.
The cry for Modi's visit to Assam became shrill after he recently did an aerial survey of flood-affected areas of his home state, Gujarat.
Now, as the PM is visiting Assam, the people of the state want Modi to solve the erosion problem that has led to the loss of massive chunks of land. According to figures, Assam has lost 4.27 lakh hectares of land to erosion so far.
The flood situation in Assam becomes precarious as altogether 39.58 per cent of total area in Assam is flood-prone, which is 9.40 per cent of the total flood-prone area in the country.
Moreover, nearly 5,000 km embankments constructed 50 to 60 years ago need to be strengthened immediately to tame flood waters in the near future. Every year, during floods, the situation turns more difficult due to water released from the dams on neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan hydro power projects.
"During his tour this time the PM should fulfill this demand, which has been on since the 1980s, by declaring flood and erosion a natural calamity. Flood and erosion are such huge issues that the state government can't solve it alone. The Centre needs to pump in money and expertise to solve it scientifically," Dilip Pegu, vice-president of Takam Mishing Kebang Porin, a students' body of the Mising community, was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
The students' body has been demanding rollback of big hydel projects in Arunachal Pradesh to ensure that life and property of people living in downstream areas in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Majuli districts in Upper Assam are not affected.
During his visit to Assam, the PM would discuss all the aspects related to the floods with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior officials, a state official statement said.
Matters related to flood management and the damages caused by the floods are also likely to feature in the discussions. The Centre has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh under the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured in the Assam floods.
As per official statistics, two waves of floods have affected over 25 lakh people in 29 districts of Assam this year. The administration has set up 1,098 relief camps and distribution centres in the state.
Though the current wave of floods has receded, six districts are still reeling under it and over 2,000 people have taken shelter in the relief camps.