GUWAHATI: As Assam continues to battle a devastating flood that left 84 people dead, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called up Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to express his concern and solidarity with the people of the state.
“Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji took stock of the contemporary situation regarding #AssamFloods2020, #COVID19 and Baghjan Oil Well fire scenario over the phone this morning. Expressing his concern & solidarity with the people, the PM assured all support to the state,” Sonowal tweeted.
An official statement said the PM had enquired about the steps taken by the state government for relief and rehabilitation of flood-affected people and treatment of Covid-19 positive patients. Sonowal apprised Modi that the state government had taken steps for providing shelter to the marooned and that the Covid-19 protocols were strictly being adhered to.
He also informed that vast swathes of farmlands and houses had been severely affected by the flood and erosion caused by the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
On the Baghjan oil well fire, the CM informed the PM that the Petroleum Ministry had been persistently carrying out activities to completely douse the inferno and the state government was extending all cooperation. A blowout – or uncontrolled emission of natural gas – had led to the fire on June 9.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), five people perished on Sunday in Barpeta, Baksa, Dhubri, Morigaon, and Nagaon districts. Earlier, 26 others were killed in separate incidents of rain-triggered landslides.
The ASDMA said over 25.29 lakh people from 2,400 villages and localities across 24 of the state’s 33 districts were reeling under the flood. Altogether, 50,559 of the marooned were taking refuge in 521 relief camps.
The floodwater breached a number of river embankments and damaged bridges and roads across the state. The standing crop affected was in areas of 1,12,138 hectares. Major rivers such as Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Kopili, Beki, Kushiyara, and Jia Bharali were in a spate, flowing above the danger level.
The one-horned rhino fame Kaziranga National Park is bearing the brunt of the deluge. The Brahmaputra flows through the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Till Sunday, 108 animals, including nine rhinos, died due to various reasons including drowning and vehicle hits. A national highway traverses beside the park. The animals, particularly elephants and hog deer, cross the highway to go to the hills in neighbouring Karbi Anglong district during floods.
Meanwhile, three children, swept away by the swirling Brahmaputra water, were rescued due to the timely action of a forest ranger of the park.