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Floods destroy crops worth Rs 993cr
Central teams assess damage

Guwahati, July 11: The team sent by the Centre to assess flood damage in Assam today split into three groups and visited different affected districts, where the crop loss in the current wave has been pegged at Rs 993 crore.

Till date, 125 persons have perished in the floods, which had affected almost all districts, mainly because of excessive rainfall. The state received 528.8mm rainfall in May-June against the normal 427.3mm, an excess of 24 per cent this year.

Water resources department minister Rajiv Lochan Pegu told The Telegraph that the central officials, numbering around 14, divided themselves into three groups before undertaking field visits to lower Assam, middle Assam, north bank and Barak Valley.

“One team is surveying the Barpeta-Dhubri-Goalpara area, another is visiting Darrang and three Barak Valley districts while the third will visit Nagaon-Sonitpur-Lakhimpur-Dhemaji area. According to the schedule, they will all return to Guwahati tomorrow and, time permitting, will hold a meeting on how to go a about restoring normality before leaving for Delhi,” Pegu said from Majuli.

The water resources, PWD, health and disaster management departments and National Highway Authority of India on Tuesday made a Powerpoint presentation before the central team in Guwahati. “We have asked for Rs 10 crore in immediate relief and Rs 110 crore to bridge the 53 breaches that took place since April,” Pegu said.

Dispur has also drawn a roadmap to providing relief to farmers and also to make up for the crop loss, agriculture minister Nilamoni Sen Deka said this afternoon.

The number of farmers affected is 10,57,558 and the crop area affected is 2,54,000 hectare resulting in a loss of Rs 992,43,00,000. The number of village affected is 8,942.

To start with, Dispur will be distributing around Rs 109 crore through the state disaster relief fund to affected farmers. “Farmers with one hectare crop area without irrigation will be getting Rs 3,000 each, one hectare with irrigation Rs 6,000 and one hectare of damaged pineapple/orange plot will be getting Rs 8,000 each,” Deka said.

Over and above this, the government has also set aside Rs 1.64 crore for the deputy commissioners to help procure seeds and seedlings for affected farmers. Rs 2 crore each has also been set aside to help those in the horticulture sector and those who need tractor support post-flood.

Deka said the government had decided to go for double cropping. “Against 2.94 lakh hectare used for double cropping last year, we will be targeting five lakh hectare for double cropping this year to make up for the loss. We have sought Rs 993 crore from the Centre to help cope with losses in the agri sector,” he said.

Sources associated with rescue and relief operations told The Telegraph today that it had become imperative to have an early alarm system in place in Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh whenever it rains heavily so that immediate response can be planned in downstream Assam. They warned that if the breaches in the worst-hit Sonitpur district were not bridged immediately, a similar situation would arise if it rained heavily again.