The Telegraph
Saturday , June 30 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flood toll rises to 27
Gogoi to seek central relief

Guwahati, June 29: A harried Dispur today went into an overdrive to draw the attention of the Centre to the devastating floods in the state that has claimed 27 lives and affected 24 districts till this evening.

The chief minister’s office asked the departments involved in flood-related activities to prepare a report that would be submitted by chief minister Tarun Gogoi after his return from the US tomorrow to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Sources said Gogoi would be seeking a special package to tide over the crisis triggered by the floods since Singh had on Thursday assured all help.

They said the move was Gogoi’s way of conveying to his detractors that Assam was always on his mind even when he was away on an official trip planned “much” before the floods arrived.

This is over and above a status report sent by Dispur to the Prime Minister’s office, ministry of home affairs and the Union cabinet secretary this afternoon with inputs from the water resources, home, transport, PWD, health and disaster management departments.

“Basically, it is about the prevailing status and the extent of damage. Request for funds and packages to cope with the calamity will be decided by the chief minister,” a source said.

Even the ruling Congress is mobilising its members. Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita met Sonia Gandhi on Thursday evening and apprised her about the situation. He also constituted a relief committee for each district and asked its members to visit affected areas and coordinate with local administration.

In Majuli, though the Brahmaputra is showing a receding trend, vast areas remain inundated. Two roads on the island were also breached today.

Dutta Deva Goswami, xatradhikar of Bhogpur Xatra, expressing concern at the government’s and the Brahmaputra Board’s lackadaisical attitude towards strengthening the embankments, said Bengenuati Xatra and Bhogpur Xatra were under threat of being washed away in the next wave of floods. The embankment, which was only about half-a-kilometre away from both these xatras, was greatly weakened by rats digging underground and anthills loosening the soil at the base.

Though the water levels of all tributaries of the Brahmaputra are showing a falling trend, the river was still flowing at 29.85m with rising trend in Dhubri. Guru Teg Bahadur Road, which connects Dhubri town with NH31 at Gauripur, has been breached at several places. The danger level of the Brahmaputra in Dhubri is 28.62m.

The floods also claimed another life today, as Janida Khatoon, 10, a student of Gynpith Bidyalaya of Puran Sukchar in South Salmara-Mancachar sub-division of Dhubri district, drowned in a village pond while she were returning from school with her friends, wading through the flooded village road.