GUWAHATI: Yet more electrocutions happened in the streets of Guwahati, the result, a hapless administration said, of flood waters pouring in from faraway Meghalaya.
One man died after coming into contact with a live electric wire and another was electrocuted at the same place but survived.
Dulal Malakar, employee of a KFC outlet in Guwahati, died of electrocution when a street off Zoo Road was flooded Thursday morning. He was married barely six months ago.
The flash flood on Malakar's street was the result of an hour-long rain on Thursday morning. A number of Guwahati localities were flooded but officials said part of the "artificial flood" was the result of runoff from Meghalaya.
These incidents came on the heels of last week’s two electrocution deaths which included a school student. Three others had died after being washed away by flooded streams and drains.
After the Malakar incident, local people staged a protest and prevented the police from taking away his body.
They slammed the state government, saying crores of rupees have been spent on festivals but nothing has been done to earn a respite from the floods.
“The government spent crores of rupees in organising the Namami Brahmaputra festival. Even now, when people are dying, it is spending a huge amount in the name of Ambubachi Mela (at the Kamakhya temple),” a protester alleged.
The local MLA, Siddhartha Bhattacharya held the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) responsible for Dulal Malakar's electrocution. The ASEB suspended two officials for alleged dereliction of duty.
The state government of Sarbananda Sonowal announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh for Malakar's family.
Another Rs 2.5 lakh would be paid to the family by ASEB. The power utility also promised a job to his wife.
Nearly 40,000 people in 100 villages in four districts have been affected by this year’s first wave of floods in Assam. The affected districts are Karimganj, Lakhimpur, Darrang and Biswanath. The authorities have set up 16 relief camps in three districts.