After the heavy rainfall and flooding in the past week, Assam’s government on Monday sought interim relief of Rs 500 crore from the Union government. The requested funds would assist the state with relief, rehabilitation and repair works in the many flood affected areas throughout the state.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi called a press conference in Guwahati to announce the request, where he told the media, “‘Til now, 14 people lost their lives and more than eight lakh people were affected in the flood. The state government has adequate funds for immediate relief operations in the flood affected areas, but Central assistance would be required for repair works, rehabilitation.”

Gogoi may have requested the flood relief funds so soon after the recent floods because the Central government has still not released flood relief funds the state government in last year flood.

“Around 8.5 lakh people of more than 1400 villages had to bear the brunt of flood. We had to set up nearly 300 relief camps for about 2 lakh people evacuated from the flood affected villages. Flood has claimed 27 human lives so far,” Gogoi said.

A report from the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) agreed with the numbers given by the Chief Minister.  The report said “More than 8.33 lakh people of 984 villages in 14 districts wre affected in the worsened flood in the state.”

Assam Flood Relief Funds Request

Three days after his initial request for financial assistance, the government still had not responded. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi met with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at his North Block office in New Delhi, to plead for immediate financial assistance to carry out relief, rehabilitation and restoration of communication.

Rs. 2485.13 crore is still outstanding from the central government’s commitment for funds to repair the flood damage from last year.

The recent floods caused substantial damage, affecting human lives, cattle, crops, infrastructure and other property. Gogoi said the fourth wave of floods affected 19 districts, the worst being Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Barpeta and Goalpara.

River embankments breached at 28 locations, which the State Water Resources Department estimates will cost Rs.63 crore to repair, plus Rs.200 crore to restore critically damaged flood management structures.

14 people are known to have died at this point. Seven in Dhubri district, five in Kokrajhar, one each in Chirang and Goalpara.

Pobitora wildlife sanctuary and 31 anti-poaching camps in Kaziranga National Park were flood affected, with more than 80% of the area under water.

Kaziranga National Park authorities reduced speed limits, to safeguard displaced animals.

 

About 

Hemanta Kumar Nath is a correspondent and photojournalist based in Assam, India, who reports on local news in Assam, the north east Indian state.