Cachar admin directed to up relief & rescue ops ** Repair of dyke at Betkundi area will take some time: Himanta
SILCHAR/GUWAHATI, June 26: With Silchar town submerged in flood waters for a week now, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said that instructions have been issued to agencies involved in the relief and rescue operations to maximise their reach and ensure help for all affected people at the earliest.
Sarma waded through the waters on foot at places and sailed in a NDRF rubber boat, as he interacted with the local populace to get a first-hand understanding of their situation.
Cabinet minister Parimal Suklabaidya, Silchar MP Rajdeep Roy, several MLAs and officials of local civil and police administration accompanied the chief minister during the visit.
Sarma held a review meeting with the district administration officials on the situation and the measures being taken for rescue and relief operations.
The chief minister reviewed the status of electricity supply in Silchar and directed the APDCL officials to restore power supply step by step in the town. He also gave instructions for distributing halogen tablets to each and every municipal ward of the town.
During the meeting, the chief minister also informed that arrangements are being made to send one thousand litres of kerosene and adequate vegetables and animal medicines from Guwahati to Silchar.
Speaking to reporters later, Sarma accepted that the administration has not been able to reach out to all affected people thus far.
“In many areas, we have not been able to reach out to the marooned people. We are not denying it. I have issued instructions on how to maximise our reach. We are also open to suggestions on the matter,” he said.
Sarma appealed to people to stand by each other during this time of distress and appreciated the philanthropic activities by individuals and groups in Silchar.
“About 50 per cent work of the administration is being done by philanthropic organisations and people,” he stated.
“People are overall happy with the relief operations. It is not possible to get to each and every person, but more or less we have reached out to everyone who has sought help,” Sarma claimed.
He said medical camps will be organised in the town from Monday or the day after, and doctors from Guwahati and Army will assist in running these camps.
“The water level at Barak River is still flowing above the danger level. It has to be reduced considerably before the damage can be repaired. There is a forecast of more rain. We are now trying to ensure that there is minimum further damage in case of more rainfall,” the chief minister maintained.
Talking about a damaged dyke at Betkundi area, due to which the town has been largely submerged, the CM said repair work will take some time.
Houses of around 2 lakh people in the town, considered to be the gateway to Barak Valley, have been affected following the damage of the dyke at Betkundi, allegedly by some miscreants.
“Inspected the magnitude of flood & extent of damage at Rangirkhari, Silchar on a boat during my second visit to the flood-hit town,” Sarma tweeted following the visit.
“During my more-than-one-hour inspection, I saw the hardships faced by people as most areas are still reeling under floodwaters. Our government stands firmly with the people of Silchar and we are unwavering in our efforts to lessen their sufferings,” he added.
The chief minister had on Thursday made an aerial survey of the marooned town, which has a population of approximately three lakh, visited a few relief camps and reviewed the situation with public representatives and district officials.
Over 96,000 people under Silchar revenue circle of Cachar district are reeling under the deluge, as per Assam State Disaster Management Authority bulletin on Saturday evening.
The overall flood situation in the state also remained critical on Sunday with more than 22 lakh people in 25 districts still affected, although water levels have started receding in some areas.
Altogether 126 people have been killed in floods and landslides in the state this year. (With inputs from PTI)