Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Assam flood

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Once again parts of Assam are under swirling waters which have caused people untold suffering. Thousands of people in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Sonitpur districts continued to remain under knee-deep water. Standing crops on hundreds of acres have been damaged. Over 1.5 lakh people have been affected in the second wave of flood. The district of Lakhimpur has been worst affected and the administration has set up 25 relief centres though no relief camp has been established. Incessant rains in Arunachal Pradesh have caused several rivers in these districts to be in spate. The Ranganadi breached about 25 metres of an embankment in Lakhimpur and over 30 villages have gone under water. The river also breached a portion of the western approach to a bridge on National Highway 52. Road communication between Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts in Assam and Lower Subansiri, West Siang and East Siang in Arunachal Pradesh has been cut off. In Arunachal Pradesh, landslides were caused by heavy rains making roadways impassable. The link with Dhaka has also come under rains.The flood in Assam is an annual calamity. While little can be done to stop the heavy rains submerging parts of the state which may be aggravated in future by climate change, some of the suffering of the people is man-made. Embankments have eroded over the years and have not been sufficiently repaired. Arunachal Pradesh has its special problems. Former Environment Minister Jairam Rmesh had put his foot down about building dams across the rivers. Communication links between the two strategically situated states of Assam and Arunachal are bad as it is. The floods make the situation very difficult to tackle. Relief to the victims cannot be a solution for the long term. Assam has a stable Congress government for a decade and its relations with the UPA government at the Centre are amicable. It should have led to speedier disaster control measures in a state plagued by terrorist bodies.

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