Guwahati, July 8: The government's response towards the flood-affected people of Assam has always been poor. Like previous state governments, the current ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has miserably failed the people of Assam as the state is under the grip of floods.
According to the latest reports, around 4.5 lakh people have been directly affected by floods in the 17 districts of the state. The death toll in the current spate of floods in Assam mounted to 22 on Friday.
The locals fear the number of human casualties could be more as the government is yet to take stoke of the exact damage and destruction caused by the floods.
On Friday, the Sarbananda Sonowal government has decided to activate two toll-free helpline numbers--1070 and 1079--for the flood-affected people of the state. The latest step of the government is nothing less than pitching in at the last moment when the situation has gone beyond its hand.
While making the announcement of starting of helpline numbers, minister of state for revenue and disaster management Pallab Lochan Das said, "The people can pass on any information related to floods through these helpline numbers like inadequate distribution of relief materials."
Das added that the chief minister asked his cabinet colleagues to rush to the affected areas to take stock of the situation and personally monitor relief and rescue operations.
The intent of the government behind starting the toll free numbers might be noble. But the question is if someone is marooned in his/her village, where the telephone connectivity is mostly bad (natural calamity adds to the woes of telecom operators), how would one seek help?
As per the latest report of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), one person each got drowned in Nalbari, Karimganj and South Salmara districts and the toll reached 22.
Of the 35 districts in the state, 17 were affected by the flood, while 4.5 lakh people were hit, it said.
The affected districts included Lakhimpur, Bongaigaon, Jorhat, Golaghat, Cachar, Dhemaji, Biswanath, Karimganj, Sonitpur, Majuli, Barpeta, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar, Morigaon, Hailakandi and Chirang.
The report said Karimganj in Barak Valley is the worst hit district with 1.61 lakh people affected, followed by Lakhimpur in Brahmaputa Valley with 77,974 flood-hit people.
A total of 1,037 villages in 52 Revenue Circles are affected, it said, adding that 181 relief camps and centres have been set up in 11 districts for the succour of over 20,000 inmates.
The Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger mark in Jorhat, Sonitpur, Goalpara and Dhubri districts.
The other rivers flowing above the red mark are Desang in Sivasagar, Dhansiri in Golaghat, Jia Bharali in Sonitpur and Kushiyara in Karimganj district, the ASDMA report said.
Rhino habitats Kaziranga National Park in upper Assam and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in central Assam are under water due to overflowing of the Brahmaputra, Forest Department sources said.
Nearly one lakh big and small animals besides poultry are affected by the floods across the state.