Assam CM directs DCs to extend prompt relief to flood-hit
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday directed all deputy commissioners to extend prompt relief to the flood-hit “instead” of following official procedures to avoid delay.
The chief minister, visibly unhappy at the pace of distributing relief with the flood situation remaining grim, told the deputy commissioners that relief should reach the affected without them asking for it and directed them to “prioritise relief instead of following procedures to avoid delay” in providing relief.
Asserting fund was not a problem, Sarma said “funds not admissible under flood relief” would be made available from the state-owned priority development or the chief minister’s relief fund.
He issued the direction to the deputy commissioners at a videoconference he held here to review the flood situation with them and senior officers following rising complaints about relief not reaching the affected people.
The flood and landslide triggered by heavy rainfall has left 29 persons dead since June 14, affected over 42 lakh in 33 of the 35 districts and disrupted road and rail communication to South Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram.
Nine persons, including two cops, died on Sunday, taking the toll to 71 since April 6 when the first wave of flood hit the state.
Sarma said: “The first dose of relief to the affected should be based on human assessment and not on inspection or requisition, which are time-consuming and trigger anger among the affected and create the impression that Dispur or Delhi is not providing relief.”
He added: “Inspection and headcounts can happen a few days later. People should not ask for relief, it should go on its. The government will absorb excess release of relief... Requisition and reports should go out of the flood lexicon. Requisition is a British word, implying slavery. I don’t want people to become victims of requisition and reports.”
The ongoing flood has been attributed to very heavy and continuous rainfall in the state and to water flowing down from neighbouring Bhutan and release of excess water from various hydel projects in and outside the state.
Sarma said additional NDRF teams would be brought in from neighbouring Manipur and Tripura to bolster relief and rescue operations in Barak Valley. NF Railway has offered to run relief trains to the affected areas, especially from Silchar to Karimganj.
Sarma also asked the DCs to ensure hot cooked food are served to people taking shelter in relief camps and also ensure supply of relief to those not staying in camps. “Relief materials & petroleum products will be air-dropped wherever required,” he said.
Altogether 1,187 relief camps/centres have been opened to serve over 1.86-lakh affected people.
The deluge has also extracted a heavy toll on road and rail infrastructure, breaching and damaging around 20 embankments. It has also damaged 297 roads, including NH-27 and NH-17, and 14 bridges that have disrupted both passenger and good traffic.
Sarma said he was in touch with his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma for updates on Jowai-Badarpur road, part of the NH-6 that has been badly damaged by flood and landslide.
But the good news is that the road has been opened on a trial basis.
Sangma tweeted: “After hard work by the team traffic on NH-6 has started one way on a trial basis. We hope to get things normalised soon. Congrats to the team.”
After hard work by the team traffic on NH 6 has started one way on a trial basis. We hope to get things normalised soon. Congrats to the team. @PMOIndia @AmitShah @himantabiswa @ZoramthangaCM @DrManikSaha2 pic.twitter.com/zzKKcnR72Q— Conrad Sangma (@SangmaConrad) June 19, 2022
The damage caused by landslides and flash flood to NH-06 in Lumshnong in East Jaintia Hills district that connects Meghalaya to Assam, Tripura, and Mizoram was extensive and the restoration work will take a few days. Over 1,000 trucks were stranded on either side of the damaged highway.
Sarma said Union home minister Amit Shah called him twice since morning to enquire about the flood situation while informing that a team from his ministry will visit the state soon to “assess the damages” caused by the natural calamity.
The other directives issued by Sarma are:
⚫ DCs told to complete all damage assessment by July 5 and release funds by July 10.
⚫ Guardian ministers/secretaries told to camp and monitor/coordinate flood relief & rescue in their assigned districts.
⚫ Medical teams to be kept at every relief camp. Doctors to pay daily visit. 108 mobile ambulances or hospital ambulances to be on standby.
⚫ Mega health camp in every affected circle after water recedes to check outbreak of any disease