An inter-ministerial central team assessing the damages caused by floods in Assam today termed the destruction as "very profound and large-scale".
An inter-ministerial central team assessing the damages caused by floods in Assam today termed the destruction as “very profound and large-scale”. The seven-member team is in the state since July 25, on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of the damages caused by the flood. The team headed by Union Joint Secretary Home Affairs V Shashank Shekhar called on Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal today and apprised him about their findings after visiting the flood-affected districts, official sources said. Shekhar told the chief minister that they personally saw the damages, distress, and migration of the flood-hit people and observed that the destruction was “very profound and large-scale”. As part of their on-the-spot-assessment, the teams interacted with the affected people and respective district administrations to find out the intensity of the damages caused by the flood, Shekhar told the chief minister.
The teams, divided into two groups, visited the flood-hit Brahmaputra and Barak valley districts of Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Majuli, Barpeta, Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj. Sonowal appreciated the central team’s visit to the state in the midst of floods as it helped them to see the real damages caused by the flood, the sources said. Sonowal said that most of the embankments which were constructed as a safeguard to rural habitations had outlived their utility. He also informed the team that a proposal was submitted to the Union government to take up ‘Prime Minister’s Special Programme for Flood and Erosion Control’ for developing embankments as road-cum-embankments stretching up to 5,000 km in the state. The chief minister said that once the 5,000 km stretch is converted into road-cum-embankment, it would help rural people in terms of connectivity and benefit the rural economy as well as tourism.
This initiative would also facilitate implementation of PMGSY to connect every village in the state, he added. Sonowal also cited the survey report of international organizations that the Brahmaputra holds the highest threat perception to adjacent areas due to the heavy undercurrent of its water. The chief minister suggested that the team incorporate this information in its report so that a holistic approach involving both the central and state governments could be taken up for intensifying flood protection measures. Referring to the issue of resettlement of people, who became homeless and landless due to flood, he urged the team to include this in their report for the release of funds by the central government.
Considering the gravity of the situation and the intensity of flood damage in Assam, Shekhar told the chief minister that the team would submit its report to the Centre “at the earliest” so that funds for tackling the flood could be released expeditiously. The team also met Chief Secretary V K Pipersenia in the presence of senior government officials and briefed him about their findings. The team also included chief engineer CWC Shillong P M Scott, director (states-NE) Niti Aayog Sanjay Kumar, assistant director Ministry of Finance B K Mishra, assistant executive engineer of Road, Transport and Highways Sachin Kumar Gautam, assistant director Rural Development of National Rural Road Development Agency (NRRDA) Rakesh Kumar and UP Director of Sugarcane Development A L Wagmare.