With Silchar town in Assam’s Cachar district submerged in flood waters for a week now, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday conceded that the administration has not been able to reach all the marooned people yet.
He said instructions have been issued to agencies involved in the relief and rescue operations to maximize their reach and ensure help for all affected populations at the earliest. Sarma waded through the waters on foot at places and sailed in an 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. The CM held a review meeting with district administration officials on the situation and the measures being taken for rescue and relief operations.
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 maximize 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 of individuals and groups in Silchar. "About 50 percent of work of the administration is being done by philanthropic organizations 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 organized 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 reduce 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 in the Betkundi area, due to which the town has been largely submerged, the CM said repair work will take some time. Houses of around two 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, 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 CM 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. Sarma is set to visit flood relief camps at Hajo in Kamrup district later on Sunday. Over 96,000 people under the Silchar revenue circle of Cachar district are reeling under the deluge, as per the Assam State Disaster Management Authority bulletin on Saturday evening.
The overall flood situation in the state also remained critical on Sunday with more than 25 lakh people in 27 districts still affected, although water levels has started receding in some areas. Altogether 121 people have been killed in floods and landslides in the state this year.