Assam flood woes: Floods wash away my house, livestock each year, says 76-year-old man

His life is wedded to floods. They have been a common reality, all through his 76 years of life. Sibaram Das migrated to Amtola Milanpur in Assam’s North Lakhimpur district 20 years ago, from his nati

Published: 04th August 2017 08:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2017 11:17 AM   |  A+A-

Sibaram Das sits in what was once his house but has now been washed away by the flood, in Amtola Milanpur, North Lakhimpur district. (Express)

Express News Service

LAKHIMPUR: His life is wedded to floods. They have been a common reality, all through his 76 years of life. Sibaram Das migrated to Amtola Milanpur in Assam’s North Lakhimpur district 20 years ago, from his native Gualgaon Molabindha, which is about 30 km away in the river island of Majuli.

“Majuli has a history of floods and I grew up being ravaged by them,” says Das. “In 1997, I decided to migrate to Amtola Milanpur, which was considered a safer place, along with my wife Memsi, seven sons and two daughters. We settled on a piece of government land beside the Ronganadi river.”

“But life here has been no different. Floods wash away our house and livestock every year,” he says, while the cavalcade of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi passes behind him. Gandhi visited a nearby village which turned into a virtual desert after the angry Ronganadi breached its embankment for about 200 meters.

Memsi and their son Jone are excited about the Gandhi scion’s visit. They have been waiting since morning by the riverside, where the leader is expected to speak to flood-ravaged villagers. Das’ house was also washed away in the floods. The family is among the many lodged in a makeshift enclosure on the embankment. District authorities provide them rice and pulses, which help them get by. Jone is a daily wage labourer. So are six of his other children; but they live elsewhere. Both his daughters have been married off.

“I don’t know how I will rebuild the thatched house. I have no savings,” says Das helplessly. In its current form, the house stands on bamboo poles without a roof or any side fences. Jone had collected bamboo poles from a neighbour to erect the poles.

Das says he was into agriculture at one point of time, back in his native in Majuli. “But I had to give up due to floods and soil erosion. After I migrated, I maintained the family for almost two years selling firewood that I collected from the forest. Later, I sold fish. But now, it has been three years since my health failed and I stopped working,” says Das.

Das’ hopes are pinned on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Sarbananda Sonowal cannot solve this problem. But Modi can, for he is the PM. I appeal to him to rescue us from this perennial problem.” Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi, who had spent 10 minutes there, had left for another site.

RaGa vows to fight for flood-hit
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday visited Assam’s Lakhimpur district, the worst affected in the flood-ravaged state. “I thought I must come to hear about your pain and understand the situation. I will fight for compensation; it’s is your right,” he said

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