| A biker crosses a bridge at Sadiya on Wednesday after the road was washed away by floodwaters. Picture by UB Photos |
Jorhat, Oct. 3: The Tinsukia district administration has decided to map out each village of Sadiya sub-division using GPS surveying techniques and set up disaster management and development committees to provide rapid response in times of emergencies like floods and earthquakes.
The initiative will be the first of its kind in the state.
Sadiya was among the worst affected areas during the latest wave of floods in Assam. It is located on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra and is reachable only by ferry or small boats.
Over 80 of the 130 villages in the sub-division’s 12 gaon panchayats were completely submerged and many villages were cut off, forcing the administration to call in the air force, army and NDRF teams.
The under-construction Dhola-Sadiya bridge is expected to solve of lot of Sadiya’s communication problems.
Tinsukia deputy commissioner S.S. Meenakshi Sundaram, who is on a four-day visit to Sadiya, told The Telegraph today that accurate locations of villages are needed for rapid rescue and relief operations, especially for air-dropping essential items and evacuating marooned people.
The administration will carry out the GPS survey in every village and the co-ordinates will be collected and stored in a computer, Sundaram said. “It (GPS co-ordinates) will help to track the exact location of a place for conducting rescue and relief operations in short notice,” he said.
It is very difficult for helicopters to locate the exact area where help is needed because there is water everywhere, he said.
The deputy commissioner said 10 locations of higher ground would be identified in each village while conducting the survey and a post will be erected at each such location.
The post will be painted with bright colours for easy identification from the air and people can gather around it for evacuation, Sundaram said.
The idea behind setting up a disaster management and development committee in every village was to have rapid response at the grassroots level by involving local government agencies and local people, because communication to Sadiya is very limited, he said.
Although the army, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and air force personnel provided a lot of assistance during the recent floods, bad weather often delayed their efforts, Sundaram said.
According to the plan, the 20-member team will be headed by a gaon burah (village headman) who will be the co-ordinator. The committee will have 10 members comprising government workers or representatives, like Anganwadi supervisors, representatives from village defence parties and headmasters and teachers of lower primary schools. The rest of the 10 members will be chosen from among the villagers.
Sundaram said State Disaster Response Force personnel would train the team members. They would be trained on how to rescue people and to distribute relief materials during natural calamities.
Sadiya sub-divisional officer (civil) Kishore Thakuria said the committees will be formed in the next 10 days and training will be given phasewise at Chapakhowa (headquarters of Sadiya).
Thakuria said boats, vehicles and logistics will be provided to the committees. The committee will also supervise development work in a village.
Meanwhile, around four villages of the Barekuri area under Doomdooma revenue circle of the district have been partially submerged owing to heavy rain during the last two days. Five villages in Sadiya were also inundated partly by rain.
But the situation was improving with rains stopping, the deputy commissioner said. The situation in the Barekuri area that has 22 villages was not alarming, he added.