Himanta, Gogoi spar as Assam floods situation worsens

After visiting some flood-affected areas, Gaurav Gogoi alleged the BJP-led state government was using the Water Resources Department like an ATM.
Rickshaw pullers wade through Assam floods
Rickshaw pullers wade through Assam floods(Photo | PTI)

GUWAHATI: As Assam reels under a devastating flood, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi has thrown down the gauntlet at Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma asking him to take charge of the state’s Water Resources Department and show it to those who failed how to run it.

A war of words broke out between the two as breaches in river embankments worsened the flood situation.

After visiting some flood-affected areas, Gogoi went all guns blazing at the BJP. He alleged the BJP-led government in the state was using the Water Resources Department like an ATM. 

“The present BJP government works for the big contractors. Everywhere, only the big contractors get the works. This is BJP model. They don’t get much support from the small contractors. Assembly elections are two years away and by giving works to the big contractors, they are strengthening their election fund,” Gogoi told the media.

He added, “The big contractors do not execute a work well as they need to give commission. That’s the reason why we have not seen good roads, a smart city or repairs of river embankments. Money is wasted everywhere.”

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Sarma blamed the 15-year Congress regime under former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for the breaches in embankments.

“Very few embankments built by the Water Resources Department breached this year. And we did not build those. What can I do if somebody blames his own father for that? This is not a time to do politics. In 2004 (when Congress was in power), altogether 350 embankments had breached,” the CM said.

At this, Gogoi advised Sarma to take responsibility of the Water Resources Department and show it those who failed by running the department well.

“I want the CM to relinquish the Public Works Department and take charge of the Water Resources Department so we can say the CM is doing well and the department is not being used as an ATM. This is a request from my side,” the Congress leader said.

“This is a positive suggestion. Let them do politics. They have been already punished by the people of Jorhat in the last Lok Sabha elections for their brand of politics. What can I say if he (Sarma) doesn’t want to learn a lesson? But we will keep giving good suggestions,” Gogoi, the Jorhat MP, added.

The flood this year claimed the lives of 52 people. According to last official figures, over 24 lakh others were affected.

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Swollen rivers, stretched admin

  • 52 - Lives lost in Floods

  • 12 - in Landslides & storms

Worst-hit districts (with population)

  • Morigaon (1,46,045)

  • Barpeta (1,39,399)

  • Cachar (1,75,231)

  • Darrang (1,86,108)

  • Dhubri (7,75,721)

Other important pointers

  • 47,103 affected have taken shelter in 612 camps, while 4,18,614 in non-relief camps provided with relief materials.

  • Major rivers are flowing above danger mark at several places

  • On Friday, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma visited severely affected Dibrugarh

  • Urban areas of Kamrup (Metropolitan), and Dibrugarh also reported floods. Cabinet ministers are camping in various flood-affected districts

  • Infrastructure damaged includes 225 roads and 10 bridges among others

  • Its tributaries Burhi Dihing at Chenimari, Dikhou at Sivasagar, Disang at Nanglamuraghat, Dhansiri at Numaligarh, Jia Bharali at NT Road crossing, and Kopili at Kampur and Dharamtul are also flowing above the danger levels

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