INFRASTRUCTURE DAMAGE IN FLOODS
GUWAHATI: The Central government is sending a seven-member 'Inter-Ministerial Team' to assess the infrastructure damage in Assam during the floods and landslides in 2020. This decision has been taken after submission of the final report on such damage by the State government.
Sources in the 'Assam State Disaster Management Authority' (ASDMA) informed that the high-level team will be led by Sandeep Poundrik, Additional Secretary (Mitigation), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The three-day tour of the Central panel will commence from November 23.
The team will visit the four worst-affected flood districts of Bongaigaon, Goalpara, Hojai, and Nagaon. The panel members will physically verify the damaged embankments, roads, and bridges among others. ASDMA officials will also give a video presentation on the infrastructure damage across the State during the mentioned period.
The Central team will submit its report to the Central government. Based on this report, the Centre will take the decision to sanction additional financial aid to Assam either under the SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund) or the NDRF (National Disaster Response Fund).
If the Centre releases funds under SDRF, it will be in the ratio of 90% Central share and 10% State's share. However, the Centre foots the entire NDRF fund.
Mentionably, the Assam government has sought financial assistance of Rs 2642.99 crore from the Central government to carry out restoration work of the large-scale infrastructure damage caused by the floods in 2020. In this regard, State Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua submitted the State government's final memorandum – 'Assam Floods-2020' to the Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The report was prepared by ASDMA with feedbacks from all departments concerned.
On July 27, 2020, the State government had submitted an Interim Memorandum seeking fund amounting to Rs 2288.57 crore from the Government of India.
The memorandum pointed out, "With the limited resources at the disposal of the State Government, it is unable to meet the huge expenditure for recovery, reconstruction and restoration of the damaged infrastructure during the floods in 2020."
During that period, many parts of the State were reeling under flood water. Hence, proper assessment of damage was not possible and a tentative estimation was provided by the affected districts and the departments. After flood water receded, an assessment was carried out. However, the fourth wave of flood hit the State between October 19 and October 28, 2020.
An Inter-Ministerial Central team also visited Assam to assess the ground situation from August 26 to 28, 2020.