Monday, 30th October 2017

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95% of Kaziranga National Park submerged

The floodwaters have inundated 158 of the 199 anti-poaching forest camps

By Sanjoy Hazarika in Bokakhat
  • Published 16.07.19, 4:30 AM
  • Updated 16.07.19, 4:30 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Villagers commute to safer places in Harmoti village near Kaziranga National Park in Nagaon of Assam. (PTI)

Nearly 95 per cent of Kaziranga National Park has been submerged while National Highway 37 that runs through it is also under water at seven places — Majline, Hatikhuli, Haldhibari, Bagari, Kuthori, Bagari Deopani and Panbari.

The Golaghat and Nagaon civil administration on Monday restricted vehicles from accessing the road.

The vehicles have been restricted at Numaligarh and Kaliabor. Scores of vehicles are stranded at Numaligarh and Kaliabor tiniali.

The floodwaters have inundated 158 of the 199 anti-poaching forest camps.

The animals have fled to the Karbi hills across the highway.

According to official records, 15 hog deer and a sambar had already died .

A total of 14 animals were rescued. Of these, 10 were released after treatment while another died on arrival at the Panbari rescue centre.

“Due to scarcity of food, the animals try to flee to the Karbi hills and the poachers have a field day,” Swapan Nath, a resident of Kohora, said.

Park director Periaswamy Sivakumar told The Telegraph that the forest department and the park authorities were extra vigilant to rescue the animals and curb poaching.

“We have taken all possible measures to check the flood problem,” he said.

Meanwhile, minister for forest and environment Naba Kumar Doley visited the park and took the stock of the situation on Monday.

The principal chief conservator of forest and chief warden of wildlife are camping at Kaziranga.

Two persons drowned in floodwaters in Nagaon district today on Monday. Amulya Sarma, 42, died in the deluge in Kanpur while going for fishing in the Kopili.

In Koliabor, one Jiten Majhi died while swimming. Villagers recovered his body from the submerged bank of the Brahmaputra.

Plea for aid

Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, while urging chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to persuade the Centre to send a team to take stock of the flood situation in Assam, pointed out that the Centre had given thousands of crores of rupees to other flood-affected states but had allegedly not released a single rupee to Assam under the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) since 2014-2015.

The release of central funds under the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) to Assam since 2015-2016 also “left a lot to be desired because the full amount of allocated funds was not released to Assam,” he said. He suggested that the chief minister ought seeks additional funds under MGNREGA to repair flood-damaged rural roads and more funds for the PHE department to facilitate provision of potable drinking water.

Saikia urged the Centre (through Sonowal) to announce a special flood relief grant to the state and release pending flood relief and flood management funds to help cope with the present bout of floods.

He also wrote separately to deputy commissioners of the 30 districts affected by floods and asked them to ensure that rescue and relief work was carried out smoothly.