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Rain, water from dams worsen flood situation in Assam

Downpour in Bhutan too spells doom, three other NE states hit
A bridge damaged by the flood in Sonitpur district of Assam on Saturday.
A bridge damaged by the flood in Sonitpur district of Assam on Saturday.
PTI picture

Umanand Jaiswal   |   Guwahati   |   Published 19.06.22, 12:21 AM

Heavy rainfall in neighbouring Bhutan coupled with release of water by multiple hydroelectric projects have compounded the flood and landslide woes of Assam.

Seventeen people have died in the floods since Friday, taking the death toll in the deluge to 20 since June 14. The overall toll from the flood (48) and landslides (14) has risen to 62 since April 6.

After an inspection of flood-hit areas on Saturday, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “Because of heavy rain in Bhutan and release of water by various hydel generation companies, including Kurichhu (in Bhutan), water intake has suddenly increased manifold. Also, there is continuous rain in Assam.”

Altogether 30,99,762 people in 32 of Assam’s 35 districts have been affected by the flood and landslides. Of these, 1,56,365 people have taken shelter in 816 relief camps.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Earlier today, spoke to Assam CM Shri @himantabiswa and took stock of the situation due to floods in the State. Assured all possible support from the Centre. I pray for the safety and well-being of the people of Assam affected by flooding.”

The Kurichhu Hydro Electric Project is a 60MW plant in eastern Bhutan’s Mongar district. Funded by the Indian government, surplus power from the project is exported to the country.

Water released by the Kurichhu dam led to the submergence of vast areas in the lower Assam districts of Barpeta, Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Bajali, Nalbari and Kamrup, besides leaving at least eight rivers in spate.

Besides Kurichhu, excess water has been released by Ranganadi (Arunachal Pradesh) and Kopili (Dima Hasao).

Sarma said several embankments in lower Assam had been breached.

Several rivers including the Kopili (in Nagaon and Hojai districts) are flowing above the high-flood level, while the Brahmaputra (in Jorhat, Sonitpur and Dhubri), Jia Bharali (in Sonitpur), Pagladia (in Nalbari), Manas (in Barpeta), Beki (in Barpeta), Barak and the Kushiyara (in Karimganj) are in spate, disrupting intra- and inter-state road and rail connectivity.

Meghalaya (229.9mm) received 677.1 per cent more rainfall than normal between Thursday and Friday morning. It has got 2,261.9mm in June till Friday, against its annual average of 3.748.2mm.

The state has suffered extensive damage due to rain-induced flash floods and landslides. Thirteen people died in floods and landslides on Friday, mostly in East Khasi and South Garo Hills. Overall, the state has lost 30 people since April 1 to floods and landslides.

All districts in Tripura have been affected by heavy rain, with capital Agartala being the worst hit. Agartala recorded 180mm of rain on Friday, the highest-ever in June, leading to severe waterlogging. Altogether 2,057 families have taken shelter in 39 relief camps in Tripura.

Heavy rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh has triggered landslips in Siang, Changlang, Dibang Valley, Anjaw and Papum Pare districts.

The weather in the region is likely to remain inclement till June 20.

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