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With the 2017 flood wounds fresh, people left in the lurch

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 18: The flood-affected people of Assam are in a predicament. Well, the Centre has not yet released any fund as special assistance to the State for the renovation of its infrastructure damaged in the 2017 floods while the farmers of the State are not getting a single penny as compensation to their damaged crops as yet.

During the floods in 2017, the Centre sent its teams to the State twice to assess damage of roads, embankments, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure in the State. The teams from the Centre estimated the damage caused by floods in the State at Rs 4,800 crore, but now the Centre maintains that it cannot release the amount as that does not fall under any guideline. The Centre, however, has agreed to pump in Rs 480 crore to the State. That amount has also not been released as yet even as the State has been reeling under the first wave of floods of the season.

Official sources at Dispur say that they had to seek assistance from the Centre for the renovation of infrastructure damaged by floods in 2017 as the renovation work could neither be done with funds from the NDRF nor with funds from the SDRF.

“The department concerned in the State also doesn’t have the wherewithal to meet such a huge expenditure,” a source said, and added: “The central team told us to take up the matter with the ministry concerned.”

Meanwhile, the compensation for the damage of crops by floods in 2017 was estimated at Rs 80 crore. However, the affected farmers of the State have not got a single penny as compensation to their crop damaged by floods due to late reporting of the damage. If one has to blame those at the helm of affairs at the Centre for the non-release of a single penny as special Central assistance against the 2017 floods in Assam, the blame could well go directly to Dispur for the non-payment of compensation to the affected farmers as compensation of their crops damaged by floods in 2017.

The reports for compensation of crop damage come to Dispur from districts and the reports are approved by the State Executive Committee headed by the Chief Secretary. However, such reports reached Dispur at the fag-end of February this year. The State Executive Committee could not meet to approve the reports because of their late arrival.

By now, the State has been reeling under the first wave of floods of the season. With embankments and other infrastructure damaged by 2017 floods left to be renovated and the State farmers yet to be compensated, the flood seems to affect the State this year too in the same manner.