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Rivers in spate spell deep crisis
Flood situation grim in Assam districts

Tezpur/Dhemaji, Aug. 18: The flood situation remained grim in Assam’s Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Sonitpur districts while the Brahmaputra continued to flow above the danger mark in Jorhat today.

According to the daily flood bulletin of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority issued in Guwahati today, over 3.43 lakh people have been affected in 14 districts. Altogether 34,695 people are taking shelter in 27 relief camps in six districts.

The affected districts are Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Morigaon, Karbi Anglong, Nalbari, Barpeta, Chirang, Udalguri and Kokrajhar.

The army was called out yesterday to rescue people marooned in Nagaon district.

In Lakhimpur, two persons have died in the past four days. More than 100 villages remain inundated, affecting more than 99,000 people in seven circles and damaging standing crops in huge areas. The Kumotia and Jiadhol rivers have inundated areas under Ghilamora and Bordoloni panchayats in Dhakuakhana subdivision.

Lakhimpur deputy commissioner Gaurab Bothra said the situation was still grim although the water level of the Sarigharia, Koha, Kumotia and Gainadi had started receding. “Two deaths have been reported so far. Rescue and relief operations are on.”

In Dhemaji, more than 70 villages remain submerged in floodwaters of the Brahmaputra. The district administration has opened four relief camps. Cases of diarrhoea were reported from the flood-affected areas.

In Sonitpur, floodwaters have affected Tezpur and Gohpur subdivisions. Villages in three panchayats under Gohpur — Bordoloni, Botamuli and Paken — have been badly hit by the deluge.

The Brahmaputra was flowing more than one metre above the danger mark at Neemati in Jorhat and at the danger level in Numaligarh and Dibrugarh. The water is, however, showing a receding trend at all these points, reports said.

Barring floods in the Dibru Saikhowa range in Dibrugarh district, parts of Kaziranga National Park and some portions of Majuli, floods were not reported in any fresh area.

Assam water resources minister Rajiv Lochan Pegu, quoting reports, told The Telegraph in Guwahati that the Brahmaputra could rise in Lakhimpur if there was heavy rainfall. “Otherwise things are under control,” he said.

Bhupen Kumar Borah, AICC secretary and MLA from Bihpuria in Lakhimpur district, visited the flood-affected areas today. He posted on facebook that repair of the embankments alone was not the solution.

“The Dorpang river, for example, has a bed that is much higher than the agricultural land nearby. I am told silt from nearby Arunachal hills has resulted in this situation. The solution lies in dredging the rivers and not just repairing the embankments. But that will be a major policy shift and it will incur a huge cost and need technical capabilities. So, it can’t be done by the Assam government alone. This is something the Centre must take up as a priority like it has taken up the Ganga rejuvenation plan. Today, I appeal to all MPs from Assam, across parties, to take up this issue in Parliament. If the Ganga can receive Rs 4,000 crore for this year alone, why can’t Assam’s rivers get the same?” he said in his post.

An AGP delegation, led by party president Atul Bora, after visiting the flood-affected areas in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Sonitpur, alleged that the Congress government in the state had failed to take care of the flood-hit people.

Lakhimpur MP Sarbananda Sonowal, who is the Union minister of state for sports and youth welfare, visited the flood-affected areas in Dhemaji district today.