While India grapples with the spiralling Covid-19 pandemic, Assam has been dealt a double blow with flood waters inundating villages, leading to the loss of 102 lives.
Another 26 people have died in landslides triggered by rainfall. Overall 24.76 lakh people have been hit due to floods in 23 districts, with Goalpara being the worst-hit. The floods have also caused extensive damage in wildlife areas of Kaziranga.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who will lead the Assam BJP in next year’s assembly elections, said the central and state government are looking at a long-term solution to deal with annual floods.
“For the first time since Independence, a Prime Minister has taken personal interest and constituted a dedicated committee at the national level. This committee is being chaired by the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog and is called the North-East Water Management Authority, where all northeastern states have been taken on board. The committee has one-member representation from all the seven states,” he said.
“The committee will go through scientific studies and prepare a detailed report to find a long-term solution for floods and erosion in northeastern states. We are proceeding with this study and are very hopeful that once it is done, it will provide us with long-term solutions,” Sonowal added.
Acknowledging the tough times the state is going through, the CM said coronavirus and floods aren’t the only issues Assam is faced with.
“Not only floods and Covid-19, but we are also fighting African flu, thunderstorms, gas leaks and landslides. There are a lot of challenges for us. The people of Assam are jointly fighting this. I must thank them for their courage and determination. We have received a lot of support under PM Narendra Modi. Home Minister Amit Shah, too, has extended all support. DoNER minister Jitendra Singh has also been taking reports from us each day,” he said.
2 UP BJP Leaders Tests Positive For COVID-19, UP Minister Kamal Rani Dies Of COVID-19 | CNN News18
“The Assam floods casualty stands at 128, and 79 people have died due to Covid-19. Our recovery rate is 74% for coronavirus cases. That's very encouraging. The way in which people have fought and shown solidarity with the government has helped us in a big way to fight as Team Assam,” he said.
On whether the state will appeal for the floods to be declared a national disaster, the CM said, “It has already been considered so, otherwise why would the Prime Minister declare a national committee? Mandate has been given to this committee to find a lasting solution.”