Assam, June 8: Amid the second wave of coronavirus, the flood season in Assam in 2021 has already started, now the question arises whether the new form of state government under the leadership of Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma is ready to cope up with the situation or not.
Assam was badly affected by a flood last year claiming the lives of 123 people and affecting over 5.7 million people of 30 out of 33 districts in the state. According to the Assam Water Resources Department, 24 river embankments were damaged during the devastating flood in the state last year.
Assam Water Resources minister Pijush Hazarika claimed that the repairing works of 21 out of 24 embankments have been completed so far and the rest works are going on.
But many villagers who were affected in last year flood claimed that most of the damaged embankments are still not repaired and they are now fearing facing another disaster.
According to the report of the 43rd State Executive Committee (SEC) meeting of the state the government held on February 13 this year, the SEC had approved Rs 128.47 crore for 24 schemes of the Water Resources department under the SDRF, Rs 75 crore for 759 schemes of the Public Works department, Rs 1 crore for 74 schemes of Irrigation department, Rs 1.19 crore for repair of 215 elementary schools, Rs 8.54 crore to Fisheries department.
An Executive Engineer of the state Water Resources Department said that major damages have occurred in 24 embankments, but there are few more embankments in the state which was partially damaged in last year flood and repairing works of these embankments are still pending.
He further said that the department has also faced problems to expedite the repairing works of embankments due to recently ended assembly polls and the current COVID-19 situation.
In the last six decades, Assam has built a network of about 5000 km of embankments along the river Brahmaputra, Barak River, and its tributaries, but the lifespan of as many as 295 embankments out of 423 embankments in the state have expired.
Also Read: Over 36 lakh people affected in Assam flood
In recently ended assembly polls in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised to make Assam a flood Free State and the party had also listed the issue in its election manifesto.
Recently Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the Assam assembly that, the BJP-led Assam government will make the state a flood Free State starting 2021.
“We have planned that the Water Resources department will manage the embankments. We will make a separate organization to construct the embankments. The IIT engineers, experts of the state will be involved with the organization. We will start to construction works of the embankments of the state after this year’s flood. The Public Works Department will construct roads on the embankments and we will start the works with new thinking. We will try to start dredging in the tributaries of the river Brahmaputra,” CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Assam had reported 2018 deaths and 1,52,573 COVID-19 positive cases in the month of May this year.