Guwahati: With the floods unleashing its fury across Assam, Mrinal Saikia, a BJP MLA who represents the Khumtai Assembly has emerged as an unlikely hero after videos surfaced where he can be seen wading into knee-deep water to rescue humans and animals trapped in the waters.
In a video that he shared on his Twitter, the Khumtai MLA can also be seen rescuing a toddler, a feat that instantly won him the applause and the admiration of the entire nation. The Khumtai MLA, who has caught the nation's fancy after these daring images went viral, discussed his flood rescue efforts with The Sentinel Digital. Here are some excerpts:
Your efforts are being lauded across the country. When pictures of you wading in knee-deep waters surfaced, you were hailed for your action. Can you explain
As you very well know, Assam is well and truly in the grip of floods this year and several lives have been lost. People are suffering and some have been driven homeless. Yesterday, I alongwith SDRF personnel undertook efforts to rescue children, women, as well as deer affected by the deluge. This year, the flood has created havoc in my constituency, Khumtai, so we have to step up efforts. There is no other alternative.
So how are you planning to help the flood-hit people this year?
Every year, we try to help people who have been hit by the deluge by arranging food. A few morsels of nutritious food can go a long way in offsetting the ills of a natural phenomenon such as floods that comes with its fair share of diseases and other problems. The food is being arranged all day long by our men and we hope to continue this in the foreseeable future.
How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect the rescue efforts? Are any extra precautions being taken?
While undertaking rescue operations, precautions are not possible as everything gets mixed up in the murky floodwaterr. However, what we have tried to ascertain is the usage of masks among the rescue personnel. But yes, it is very very difficult to maintain the guidelines when you are in knee-deep water trying to rescue people.
What motivates you to flight the floods from the frontlines? It seems to have become a yearly exercise for you?
When I see problems, I try to be involved myself from the frontlines and I cannot just sit back and watch people wallow in pain and misery. So yes, I try to lead from the frontlines. When the people in my constituency see me jumping into the murky floodwaters to rescue people, they follow suit.
Flood is creating havoc in my constituency..we have been rescuing stranded people from interior places. pic.twitter.com/pNqOTKYuS5— Mrinal Saikia (@MrinalS66742364) July 12, 2020