By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, July 5: “On 5.5.2005, tripartite talks had taken place between the Centre, Assam Government and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU). The Centre had assured in the meeting that the flood and erosion problem of Assam would be declared a national problem. Had the Centre kept its promise, the flood situation in the State this year would not have been so grim. The Centre’s reluctance to declare Assam’s flood and erosion problem as a national problem only proves how the State is neglected by the Centre,” said Atul Bora (junior), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) working president at a press conference in Guwahati today.
He further said, “Around 19.4 lakh people in Upper Assam and Lower Assam have been affected by floods this year. The relief work by the government is rather poor. After bout 16 days, flood-affected families in many areas of Lower Assam got 1.2 kg rice per family. This will not suffice. Situation in Sonitpur, Majuli and other flood-affected areas is also pretty much the same. Regarding protection of Majuli island, the Brahmaputra Board has put up a bad show. People have lost faith in the Brahmaputra Board and it is time that the protection of Majuli from erosion should be handed over to some international organization.”
Bora alleged that children in flood-affected areas were starving as essential food items had not been supplied to many such areas. “The AGP had demanded that the Centre should declare a flood-relief package of Rs 30,000 crore for Assam. However, the Prime Minister announced only Rs 500 crore. Although he said that more financial aid would be given, it is doubtful whether additional aid will come in from the Centre. Rs 500 crore is really not enough to deal with the devastating flood situation in the State this year,” said Bora.
Lambasting senior officials of the State Disaster Management Department for being away in the US when floods had hit most parts of the State, Bora said, “What did these officials learn in the US. Details of the trip must be made public.”
Meanwhile, a delegation of the AGP met Assam Governor JB Patnaik today evening to seek his intervention to ensure better relief work.