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Rain triggers Majuli alert

Jorhat, May 8: The administration on Majuli island has sounded an alert on possible floods following incessant rainfall over the past few days.

A State Disaster Response Force team from Jorhat has been sent to the island to assist in rescue and relief work.

Majuli sub-divisional administration sources said preparations have been undertaken to tackle the situation if the island is flooded.

There has been continuous rainfall since the last three days with the water level of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries also rising.

However, it is still below the danger level.

The island flood management committee ó headed by Majuli sub-divisional officer (civil) Laya Madduri and comprising senior administration officials and heads of different government departments as members ó met on Tuesday and reviewed the necessary arrangements if Majuli is submerged.

Madduri told this correspondent over phone this afternoon that all the departments have been asked to undertake measures assigned to them.

She said the island has been divided into zones, sectors and sub-sectors and sub-committees constituted in 20 gaon panchayat areas of Majuli.

Madduri said as of now the stock of medicines and foodgrains is sufficient for distribution during floods.

Majuli circle officer Arup Kumar Sarmah said the lists of owners of country boats and tractors, which would have to be requisitioned, had been updated.

Government department boats are also on standby for flood relief duty.

All village panchayat presidents and secretaries have been asked to keep a watch on their respective areas and inform the administration whenever floodwaters enter the island, Sarmah added.

P.K. Gogoi, project officer of the disaster management cell of the Jorhat deputy commissionerís office, said a six-member SDRF team, accompanied by a member of the state fire-service organisation, had been dispatched to Majuli.

The officer said two mechanised rubber boats and other equipment have been sent with the team, which arrived on the island today.

He said the team would be stationed at Majuli during the monsoon.

The island is flooded almost every year during the rainy season as water from the Brahmaputra and its tributaries inundate vast areas.

Though there was no major flood last year, the island was intermittently flooded for nearly three months in 2012, 2009 and 2008.

In 2012, Majuli was hit by two waves of floods with the second wave in September submerging the entire island, disrupting normal life for nearly a fortnight and forcing the administration to shift the inmates of Majuli prison to Central Jail Jorhat.

Thousands of flood and erosion-affected people have been staying in makeshift camps on the islandís embankment for over two decades now.

After the massive floods in 2008, the state government issued a circular recommending construction of all government and private buildings on the island on the lines of the Mising communityís traditional chang ghars (houses constructed on raised platforms) to ensure that they stay above water during the floods.