Flood in Silchar a man-made disaster: Himanta Biswa Sarma
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said the flood situation in Silchar town aggravated because it was “man-made” and people did not take the advisory issued by the district disaster management authority “seriously”.
He said this after his second inspection of town since Thursday.
Referring to the damage caused to the dyke at Bethukandi, Sarma said the situation in Silchar town, most parts of which are under water since Monday, was “man-made”.
“The DC will probe the breach. Those involved (in the damage) will have to face the law. The probe will see if there is any official lapse. From next time, we will have to deploy policemen on the dyke,” he said.
“Second, the advisory of the DDMA was not taken seriously, may be because no one expected such a situation. They had not seen such a flood. All these should be lessons for us for the future. We are stepping up relief operations and are hopeful that things will further improve in 48 hours. We will try to help the affected as much as possible,” Sarma said.
On June 19, the DDMA had issued an advisory in view of the incessant rain and the Barak river flowing much above danger level. It also mentioned the damage to the dyke at Bethukandi that could not be restored and through which water from the Barak was entering the town. The inflow would affect low-lying areas, it had said, advising people to immediately shift to safer areas.
Even after seven days, there are some areas where the district administration is finding it difficult to send relief to. Drones have been deployed to drop essentials, including medicines. A huge crisis of water has added to the woes.
“There is still three feet water in my ground floor. There is no water and no power. We are getting relief but then the scale of flooding is such we can’t complain. More arrangements need to be made. Water is not going out because the Barak is still flowing above the danger level. We are experiencing an unperecented situation,” a Bilpar resident said.
Sarma on Saturday waded through the flooded streets of Silchar to assess the extent of devastation caused by the ongoing floods and also interacted with the locals, assuring them of all possible help.
After a review meeting with officials in Silchar, Sarma said steps were being taken to strengthen relief operations and asked the administration to use water pumps to flush out water.
He also ordered the setting up of medical camps in each of the 28 wards of the town, deputation of 15-20 doctors to Silchar from other parts of the state, and supply of life-saving drugs and other medicines to those in urgent need.
The chief minister also directed the administration to distribute relief materials to each family of every ward in the town.
There has been growing complains of inadequate relief.
Sarma also asked the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited to immediately restore electricity in places where flood water has receded.
Till Saturday, 121 people have lost their lives in flood and landslide. The death toll has been 79 since April 14 when incessant rainfall wreaked havoc across the state, affecting 33 of the 35 districts. Though the number of the affected has come down from 55 lakh to over 25 lakh as on Saturday, the situation in 27 districts still remains a concern.