Declare Assam flood a national calamity: Cong

Declare Assam flood a national calamity: Cong

Assam Congress MPs protest in front of Gandhi statue in Parliament over flood situation in the state and demand Assam floods be declared a national problem during the Budget Session at Parliament House in New Delhi, on July 15, 2019. PTI

The devastating floods in Assam prompted the Congress on Monday again raise the demand for declaring flood in the state a national calamity and find a solution to the perennial problem.

As the current wave of floods wreaked havoc across the state, at least three Congress MPs from Assam staged a protest in front of Parliament in New Delhi and raised slogans alleging indifference by the BJP-led government both at the Centre and in the state towards the flood problem.

"Flood is an annual phenomenon in the state and cause massive devastation. The problem is becoming grave every year. The state government is not capable of finding a permanent solution to this problem. So it should be declared a national calamity first by the Centre and then pump in huge fund and expertise to find a solution to the problem," said Ripun Bora, Rajya Sabha member and president of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee.

Two Lok Sabha MP — Pradyut Bordoloi and Abdul Khaleque — also staged the protest with Bora.

The demand to declare flood in Assam a national calamity is an old one and organisation like All Assam Students' Union has placed it several times earlier also both during the Congress and the BJP's tenure at the Centre. 

Engineers and hydrologists associated with the state government's efforts to tackle floods have observed that they require foreign expertise to tackle the Brahmaputra river and the serious problem of riverbank erosion.

According to the state government, Assam has lost over four lakh hectares of agriculture land due to erosion caused by the Brahmaputra and its tributaries since 1950.

Demand for a special fund 

Debabrat Saikia, the leader of the Opposition in Assam Assembly wrote a letter to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday with a request to impress upon the Centre to announce a special flood relief package immediately as it did during the similar flood in Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Tamil Nadu in the past.