Assam flood: Toll rises to 17, Centre releases 251.5 cr

Flood-hit areas in Dhubri district in western Assam on Tuesday. Photo credit: Raju Kumar Narzary.

The Centre released Rs 251.55 crore to Assam as the first installment of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), as 44.96 lakh people in 32 of the state's 33 districts remained affected by floods as of Tuesday.

Two more flood-related deaths were reported in the past 24-hours, taking the death toll due to floods and landslides to 17. 

The daily flood bulletin issued by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said that 1,01,085 flood-hit people were taking shelter in 226 relief camps. Another 526 relief distribution camps were opened in the flood-affected areas.

Surging water of the Brahmaputra inundated a few areas in Guwahati, situated close to the river. 

The release of the funds came following Opposition Congress' allegation of the Centre neglecting the floods in Assam and the state government's failure to meet the emergency needs due to a shortage of funds.

A day after Congress MPs from Assam raised the flood issue in the Parliament, Union minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekawat made an aerial survey of flood-affected areas in eastern Assam, including island district Majuli and assured that efforts were on to find a long-term solution to the annual flood problem.

"A committee set up by the prime minister has submitted its report recently and efforts are on for implementation of its recommendations," he said.

The Monsoon session of the state Assembly was also postponed due to floods, from July 18 to 26. 

Three rhinos killed in Kaziranga

A total of 30 wild animals, including three one-horned rhinos and an elephant died due to floods in Kaziranga National Park, as the flood situation remained grim on Tuesday. Out of the 30 animals, eight hog deers died after being hit by vehicles while crossing the National Highway-37 for high lands to avoid floods. The NH-37 passes through the national park. 

Sonowal plea to centre 

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal requested Shekhawat to take early steps for setting up a North East Water Management Authority, recommended by a committee headed by vice-chairman NITI Ayog. He also requested inclusion of river erosion in the list of admissible natural calamities under the SDRF.

The Assam government will submit an interim memorandum to the Centre soon, on the quantum of damage caused by floods. The union minister assured that a central team will visit the state soon to assess the damage.

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