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food for thought

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  30 July 2016 12:00 AM GMT

The current wave of floods in Assam is causing extensive damage. Surging waters of the Brahmaputra and other rivers are cutting banks and breaching embankments. For the State, it is a perennial problem for which it never seems prepared. Whatever little flood prevention measures are undertaken, begin so late that the rains are already nigh. Most embankments are over 25 years old, far past their endurance limit; many have been constructed shoddily and collapse easily. Their repair and maintence has long been a sick joke — countless flood-hit people weep while corrupt officials laugh all the way to their banks. After decades of havoc, the State government now says it will seek World Bank’s help to control floods and mage river flows. There has also been talk about learning from Chi how it tamed the Hwang Ho, which was once its sorrow. It remains to be seen whether the Central and State governments can together dream big on this matter, or whether the waters will be muddied by poorly understood topics like river linking. As a people, we need to think deeply how to properly harness our water resources. The move by the State Assembly to temporarily suspend its business and allow members to go monitor flood situations in their constituencies, is therefore welcome. It sends out a positive sigl when public representatives stand with their electorates during calamities, coorditing with and holding government officials to account over relief measures. Reportedly, some key officials in the chief minister’s constituency Majuli who had gone on unscheduled leave, have now been served show-cause notices. The political will must be there to drive home the message to those vested with responsibility — that recurring losses like floods are not acceptable. As for public activists who never tire of warlike sloganeering in front of TV cameras, they too, for a change, should do something worthwhile to help distressed people. Or else, they will keep getting unmasked as professiol agitators. We must all believe that floods and other problems can be battled and solved; and for that, each must pull his or her weight.

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