Guwahati, Oct. 9: The All Assam Students Union (AASU) today staged statewide satyagraha to put pressure on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare flood and erosion as a national problem.
Braving inclement weather and incessant rain, hundreds of AASU activists assembled in the district headquarters across the state and took out rallies.
After the march, student leaders in different districts submitted memoranda to the Prime Minister and Assam governor J.B. Patnaik through the respective deputy commissioners. They demanded immediate declaration of flood and erosion as a national problem, adequate compensation to those affected by such natural calamities and checking of prices, especially that of petrol, diesel and LPG.
According to official figures, 40 people have died so far in the current wave of floods which has affected 29,14,008 people in the state.
Altogether 138 animals, including nine rhinos and 99 hog deer, have also died in the floods in different national parks, particularly Kaziranga.
While 3.28 lakh hectares of agricultural land have been submerged, the crop damage has not yet been estimated.
Altogether 20 districts in the state, including Majuli island in Jorhat district, have been devastated by the floods.
In Guwahati, the AASU took out a procession from Swahid Nyas in Uzan Bazar to the office of the deputy commissioner of Kamrup (metro) district and submitted memoranda to the Prime Minister and the governor through the deputy commissioner.
AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya said at a time when the floods have caused havoc and massive devastation across the state, chief minister Tarun Gogoi is “making foreign trips and belittling the sufferings of flood victims by making shallow comments”.
“How could the chief minister say that the people of the state must try to learn to live with floods? So we have demanded the intervention of the Prime Minister and the governor to force the state government to initiate effective measures for relief of flood victims. The Prime Minister who represents the state in the Rajya Sabha must take personal initiatives to declare the perennial flood and erosion as a national problem,” he said.
Bhattacharyya said thousands of people had been rendered homeless and farmers were facing a bleak future as their crops had been completely damaged by floods.
“The government must give adequate compensation to flood victims so that they can start a life of hope after the floods,” he added.
Save the Children, an NGO working in different parts of the world to help children in emergencies, today said around 1.8 million children and their families had been affected by floods in the state over the past three months. They were struggling daily to meet their basic needs such as food, water, medical care and education.
Thomas Chandy, CEO of Save the Children, told reporters that the NGO would reach out to around 35,000 children in 10,200 households in Barpeta, Nalbari and Morigaon districts.
He said they would not be able to reach out to all the flood-affected children because of their limitation in expertise and urged the government machinery do its best to help the children.
An executive committee meeting of the AIUDF, held here today under the chairmanship of Badruddin Ajmal, also demanded declaration of flood and erosion as national problem.