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Fear of floods moves people on to roads in Garo Hills

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Chief Secretary reviews rainfall aftermath

Our Bureau

TURA/SHILLONG, July 4: With the district administration and the state government still averse to declaring floods in the plain belt, residents have begun to move on to higher grounds to ensure their safety and of their livestock.
The current situation comes in the wake of a continuing rise in the water levels of the Brahmaputra and Jinjirim rivers which has inundated huge tracts of land over the past few days leading residents to abandon their houses and go to safer climes.
As per local residents, the water levels of the local rivers as well as their localities in the plain belt have been on the rise for the past few days and this has led to many of them abandoning their houses. Some have taken up refuge near the road while others have shifted to the safer tracts of land in their relatives’ houses.
“We are really surprised that flood has not been declared yet as even our PWD road is submerged now. Most of us are daily wagers and have not been able to get by due to the flood waters. The government should start working on relief efforts now,” felt Chibinang resident and activist, Israful Hoque.
Hoque is not the only one clamouring for relief with AMMSU president Nur Islam also questioning the reasoning behind not providing relief to people who have already been affected.
“The situation is grim and needs to be taken very seriously. Many houses are already under flood waters and people have moved out. There are many families taking up refuge on the AMPT road as it is the highest place they could go. The government has to look after them,” felt Islam.
Chief Secretary DP Wahlang on Thursday chaired a review meeting to address the recent heavy rainfall in the state.
During the meeting, Wahlang sought updates from all district administrations regarding the extent of damage to roads and its impact on connectivity, the progress of relief distribution, and the current financial status related to relief efforts.
The deputy commissioners and officials from various departments participated via video conferencing.
The chief secretary specifically requested the DCs to provide updates on road connectivity, damage to houses, and the allocation of relief funds. Following the deputy commissioners’ briefing, Wahlang expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the efforts made so far.
He emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant regarding local issues arising from the rains. He noted that Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma is concerned not only about landslides but also about the impact on roads due to the rainfall.
Furthermore, he urged local engineers to stay vigilant and respond promptly to mitigate any issues caused by the heavy rainfall.
Local MLA and Power Minister, AT Mondal felt that the rain was the major factor this year for the deluge as there has been no respite for weeks.
“The Brahmaputra has breached its banks in many places including Dibrugarh, Majuli, Kaziranga and Guwahati. These waters will definitely affect us as well. The situation is being monitored continuously and meetings are being held,” Mondal said.
The fear for most has been the back draft of the Brahmaputra which generally affects people from the plain belt as waters recede towards the sea.
As per locals, the situation seems to have changed and earlier markers for flood declaration shifting.
“Earlier our markers were flooded whenever Guwahati or Kaziranga were hit but it has changed to Dibrugarh and Majuli. However the trend now is different as places in the lower reaches that did not bear the brunt of the flood are now facing its fury. Many places in Rajabala and its adjoining areas are completely under water,” informed a local on condition of anonymity.
“We are extremely poor people and don’t have the wherewithal to manage our lives without one day of support. We really need the help of the government and the administration to help us through these trying times,” informed another resident.

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