Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said the devastating flood in the north-eastern state was possibly caused due to heavy rainfall in China. “During the floods, we did not have any abnormal rainfall here. I had met the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister, who told me that there was no excess rainfall in that state as well. Then, where did the water come from?…China, for mysterious reasons, is not sharing the hydrological data with India,” he said at a press conference.
Asked about the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) press statements on August 17 and earlier that most of the sub-divisions of east and north-east India had received “excess” to “large excess” rainfall during the week, Sarma said, “That was a prediction, but the actual rainfall was normal.” The finance minister said the state government would urge the Centre to seek the hydrological data from China, “which was mutually agreed upon as per a Memorandum of Understanding”.
On whether Assam was prepared to handle the situation if China actually released water from its dams into the Brahmaputra river on its side, Sarma declined to give a direct reply. “The first step is data mining. Only then can we say how much water will they release and how much of it will we get. Accordingly, we will be able to prepare ourselves,” he said.
The third wave of the devastating floods has so far claimed 71 lives in Assam and the toll in this year’s flood- related incidents in the north-eastern has gone up to 155, including eight in capital Guwahati.