Assam Govt Left Red Faced as Bangladesh Pic Included in Flood Report to Rajnath

Assam Govt Left Red Faced as Bangladesh Pic Included in Flood Report to Rajnath

In a major goof-up, Assam government today included a two-year old world-famous photograph of Bangladesh's Noakhali flood in its interim report on Assam flood to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The report, handed over by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to Singh during his day-long visit to survey the flood condition in the state, comprises nine photographs.

Out of this, one is the famous picture of Noakhali flood, where a young boy rescues and carries a baby deer amidst flood water.

The picture, taken by wildlife photographer Hasibul Wahab and distributed by Caters News Agency in February 2014, received global appreciation at that time.

The photo showed the boy, Belal, in his 20s risking his life to rescue the baby deer with waters reaching his eyes.

Senior Assam government officials owned up the mistake when pointed out but tried to shift the blame on "some" DCs who forwarded the picture to the state capital.

"It is a big mistake. We accept it. Actually some DCs have forwarded this to us because of similarity with situation in Kaziranga National Park," a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

Another official said residents in and around Kaziranga have been rescuing animals during current wave of flood and this might have "misled" officials to include the picture.

Later in the evening, Kaliabor Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) Madhumita Bhagawati has been placed under suspension for causing "enormous embarrassment to the state government."

An official release said, "This photograph was sent to the official Whatsapp group by SDO (Civil) Kaliabor sub-division, under whose jurisdiction a part of Kaziranga falls. It has now being brought to the notice of the state government that this photograph does not belong to the current Kaziranga floods."

"The Government desires to make it clear that any irresponsible act of any government official will not be tolerated," it said.

Meanwhile, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) Chief Executive Officer Dipak Kumar Sarma said in a statement that the "error is regretted and has been rectified."

In the Interim Flood Report submitted to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his visit today, a 'pictorial error' has occurred inadvertently showing photograph of rescue of a spotted deer, which is not related to Assam flood, he added.


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