From time immemorial, rivers like Barak, Brahmaputra, Jhanji and Subansiri, etc., have nourished Assam. Time and again, these rivers have also shown their other side damaging property through floods while eroding vast stretches of land. The perennial flood problem is so common in the State that it even compelled the ‘Bard of the Brahmaputra’ Dr. Bhupen Hazarika to compose an evergreen classic to highlight the severity of the problem. This long standing problem persists due to natural and geographical factors.
This year, Assam has been experiencing heavy rainfall since Bohag Bihu, the Assamese New Year starting in mid-April. This led to flooding in 32 districts of the State which affected 3,246 villages and resulted in 39 deaths. The impact was especially severe in districts in the Barak Valley region in southern Assam, Dima Hasao, Nagaon & Hojai. According to an official statistics, 8,39,691 people of the State have been affected by floods.
However, continued efforts of the Central and State governments has come as a ray of hope to those affected while minimising loss of life. Rescue and relief operations are still being carried out across the affected districts in more ways than one.
The Central Government has allocated ₹ 1,000 crore for flood relief, out of which ₹ 150 crore has already been released to various flood-affected districts, while an additional ₹ 324 crore under State Disaster Response Fund has been made available to the State in advance based on a recommendation by the 15th Finance Commission.
Meanwhile, Assam State Disaster Management Authority is using drones and satellite data to determine the extent of damage caused by floods in these districts.
“There is no shortage of funds for relief and rehabilitation of flood-affected people. Our Government is working round-the-clock to provide relief to the affected.” Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Special flights have been deployed to Barak Valley to ensure adequate supply of food and essential commodities in the affected areas. NDRF and SDRF forces are working on war footing as well for any eventuality.
Recently, the State Cabinet also gave rescue and rebuilding operation a much needed fillip by approving a tie-up with an aviation company to operate special flights for a subsidised fare of ₹ 3,000 per ticket from Guwahati to Silchar and vice versa. Besides, to mitigate the sufferings of affected families and for beginning restoration work in flood & landslide-ravaged Dima Hasao, the Assam Government decided in its latest Cabinet meeting to provide an immediate package of ₹ 50 crore. Under this, ₹ 30 crore will be provided for immediate reconstruction of critical roads.
Of the total package, ₹ 23 crore will be provided from SDRF & ₹ 27 crore from SOPD. The Government has also decided to give ₹ 2 lakh each to 590 families to reconstruct their damaged houses. Altogether ₹ 11.80 crore will be allocated for the purpose.