|A villager rows past a submerged hut at Pobitora in Morigaon district on Tuesday. (PTI)
Tezpur/Dhemaji, Aug. 19: Union minister of state for sports and youth welfare Sarbananda Sonowal, who visited the flood-affected areas of Lakhimpur district today, promised to pursue the demand that Assam’s floods be declared a national issue.
“I have held meetings with Union water resources minister Uma Bharti and will continue to emphasise that the issue of floods gets more attention from the Centre,” the Lakhimpur MP said on being asked by reporters if he would pursue the demand for declaring Assam floods a national issue.
The daily flood bulletin of Assam State Disaster Management Authority in Guwahati said that 4,17,416 people have been hit by the current wave of floods in 15 districts — Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Nalbari, Barpeta, Chirang, Morigaon, Bongaigaon, Karbi Anglong, Udalguri and Kokrajhar.
The rising waters of the Brahmaputra and the Beki river inundated 12 villages under Bijni revenue circle in Bongaigaon district today.
At least six persons have died and over 80,000 people have taken shelter in 87 relief camps in Dhemaji (six camps), Barpeta (six), Morigaon (39) and Nagaon (36) districts.
The army was called in yesterday to rescue people marooned in Nagaon district. District administration officials said floodwaters had receded in many parts of the district but people found it difficult to come out of their villages as the areas still remained submerged. Besides, at least seven villages under Narayanpur revenue circle were freshly inundated today following heavy rain last night.
Many PWD roads, connecting flooded villages, have been damaged by floodwaters, cutting off communication.
Sonowal today held a meeting with Lakhimpur administration officials and talked to people affected by flood and erosion. He told The Telegraph over phone from Lakhimpur that he had assured the villagers of central funds to rebuild the embankments.
“The Centre is always ready to extend help to the state government and I will make sure that the issue gets much attention now,” Sonowal said. He had yesterday visited some flood-hit areas in neighbouring Dhemaji district.
Lakhimpur deputy commissioner Gaurav Bothra said Sonowal discussed with the officials damages caused by floods in the district and asked them to send a proposal to the Centre for development of the flood-affected areas. The deputy commissioner also said the water level in most part of the district was receding.
Floodwaters have also receded in Dhemaji district but the mud and slush left behind is making life equally harrowing. Relief camps inmates complained of insufficient relief materials.
Floodwaters also receded in Morigaon district today but erosion, triggered by floods, is a cause for concern. Erosion was also reported from Barpeta, Nagaon and Sonitpur districts.
In Kaziranga National Park, a elephant calf, a buffalo calf and a hog deer died as floodwaters submerged many areas. Officials said time-cards were being issued to vehicles plying on the NH 37 passing through the park to restrict their speed.