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Assam Congress urges Rahul to raise perennial flood issue in Parliament

Even as newly appointed Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi arrived in Assam’s Silchar and met the flood victims, state unit chief Bhupen Borah on Monday submitted a memorandum to him urging him to take up the issue of perennial flood of the northeastern state in Parliament. A delegation of Assam Congress led […]

Even as newly appointed Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi arrived in Assam’s Silchar and met the flood victims, state unit chief Bhupen Borah on Monday submitted a memorandum to him urging him to take up the issue of perennial flood of the northeastern state in Parliament.

A delegation of Assam Congress led by its Chief Borah submitted a memorandum to Rahul Gandhi and said, “Till yesterday 58 people have died while 53,429 are seeking refuge in shelter camps across the state.”

The memorandum highlighted that over 23.9 lakh people affected across 3,535 villages, 68,769 hectares of total crop area has been submerged and 114 animals, including 6 rhinos, have died in Kaziranga National Park.

It said that in Kaziranga National Park (KNP), recent floods have led to the deaths of 114 wild animals, including 6 rhinos, marking one of the worst flood-related animal mortality in years for KNP.

It also pointed out that Dhubri is the worst-hit district, where over 7.95 lakh people are grappling with inundation, followed by North Bank and Upper Assam, each affecting over 1.50 lakh people.

“Meanwhile, the Barak River was flowing above the danger mark at Annapurna Ghat, Badarpur Ghat, and Kushiyara in Karimganj District,” it said.

Taking a pot shot at the stage government over its mismanagement in the last five years, it said, “All infrastructure whether roads and embankments have a life. At the end of the certified life, that piece of infrastructure needs to be repaired or replaced. For example, PMGSY village roads have a life of 5 years, after which they need to be repaired.

“Embankments have a life of 20-25 years. In the last 5 years, the double-engine BJP government hasn’t given any importance to the repair and reconstruction of embankments. In these 5 years, the BJP government in Assam requested the BJP government in the Centre for Rs 10,785 crore for flood-related relief and reconstruction but received a mere Rs 250 crore.

It highlighted that in 2018-19, Stafe government made a request for Rs 2509 crore, whereas it received no amount from the centre, similarly it made Request of Rs 3,237 crore in 2019-20 and again no amount was received.

It said that in 2020-21, the state government requested for Rs 2,640 crore and centre provided Rs 44 crore and in 2021-22, it requested for Rs 1,088 crore and Rs 51 crore, in 2022-23 request for Rs 1309 crore was made and Rs 160 crore was.received by the state.
It further said that the result is that 53 embankments have got damaged, and many more are degraded.

The memorandum also said that the key to Assam’s flood problems lay in the hills.
“Due to large scale deforestation in the hills, there is immense siltation in Assam’s rivers. The resultant rising of the riverbed has progressively reduced the carrying capacity of Assam’s rivers. Therefore, in the monsoon season-and with climate change we are seeing extreme rainfalls–the water discharge is beyond the carrying capacity of rivers,” it said, adding that the long-term solution therefore is a pan-Northeast water management authority, suitably empowered by Parliament to do everything necessary to control floods.
It said that the short-term solution is strengthening the current flood management infrastructure like embankments, and providing immediate relief & rehabilitation to those affected.

It also said that APCC leaders, MPs, MLAs, Frontal Heads, DCCs and BCCs are touring the flood affected areas and helping people.

Urging Rahul Gandhi, the memorandum read, “We request you on the behalf of the people of Assam to kindly take up our matter as a special case and help us to get adequate relief and compensation for the severe losses incurred due to the floods from the central government.

“Sir, we would be grateful to you for carrying our voice of agony to the Centre. Assam should get a package to tackle the grim situation, as the State government has failed to get adequate funds from the Central government, a double failure of the double engine government,” it added.

Assam has been having severe floods in last few days.

Rahul Gandhi after his arrival at Silchar Airport went to meet.the flood victims at Thalai relief camps in Cachar district of the state.

He will then proceed to visit the relief camps in Manipur, where the violence erupted on May 3 last year.

This is Rahul Gandhi’s first visit to the northeastern state as LoP LS. He had previously visited Manipur twice and met the victim families residing in relief camps. He is all set to meet Governor and also address a press conference in the evening today.

As many as 131 wild animals, including six rhinos, have died so far at Kaziranga National Park due to floods in Assam, according to the park authority on Monday.

The Field Director of Kaziranga National Park, Sonali Ghosh, said that so far, 131 wild animals have died in Kaziranga National Park due to flooding.

“Six rhinos, 100 hog deer, and two sambar died after drowning in flood waters, while 17 hog deer, one each Swamp deer, Rhesus Macaque, and Otter (Pup) died under care. Two hog deer died after being hit by a vehicle,” Sonali Ghosh said.

The park authority and the forest department have also managed to rescue 97 wild animals during the floods.

While the flood situation in the national park has been improving, 69 forest camps out of 233 are underwater.

“22 forest camps under the Kaziranga range, 20 camps under the Bagori range, 14 camps under the Agratoli range, 4 each in Burapahar, Bokakhat and Nagaon Wildlife Division and one camp under the Biswanath Wildlife Division are currently underwater,” the park authority said.

The park authority has also vacated four forest camps, including two each in the Kaziranga range and Bokakhat range, due to flooding.

The Assam floods have recently worsened, with eight human lives lost due to flooding in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 66 this year.

According to the report released by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority on Sunday, two people each from Dhurbi and Nalbari districts and one each from Cachar, Goalpara, Dhemaji and Sivasagar lost their lives in the floods.

Over 27.74 lakh people in 28 districts are still affected by the flood in the state.
Rescue teams from NDRF, SDRF, Fire & Emergency Services, and local administration are all engaged in the rescue efforts in flood-hit areas.

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