Floods should not become a drain on economy

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“Honour is not the exclusive property of any political party.”

-Herbert Hoover

The floods in North East, particularly in Assam have become an annual phenomenon now that has turned into a spectacle. During the last 15 years of Congress regime it has become the habit of people to see the visage of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi peering through the window of a helicopter surveying from the sky above while the common people suffer below. It has become a routine for bureaucrats to be prepared for the annual flood festival in Assam. Army has been called out to rescue marooned people and IAF has been put on standby as Assam reels under one of the worst flood fury. As many as 14 people died till Sunday. In the second wave of flood 21 of 33 districts have been hit. The first wave which lasted from April to July claimed 85 lives and hit nearly 19 lakh people.

A report of Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) stated that the Army has been called out to assist the local administration in rescuing marooned people in Nagaon and Kokrajhar districts. Additional forces from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are also deployed. But the government has failed to deal with it in reasonable manner. When we have the annual flood data and the wherewithal to build a humble dam since the days of former prime minister late Jawaharlal Nehru the government still failed to build dams and embank banks. Breaching dams has become an annual happening along with the flood. But should we live with the meaningless visit of dignitaries at relief camps and distribution of essential necessities that too is sometimes siphoned off by the officials responsible. The loss in terms of economy and life is immense and cannot be measured in mere monetary terms. Dams are built each costing millions of rupees. Who will we held responsible for the breaches? People will deal with floods in its natural course and it is almost inevitable but a dam is taken on good faith. A malfunctioning dam warns no one and surging water of manmade failure offers no mercy. Naturally, death and destruction will occur. The river dredging proposal of the BJP led NDA government and the unorthodox proposal of river linking of Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be seriously given a thought so that floods do not become a drain on the economy of the nation. Flood water should be harnessed in such a way that it will become an asset instead of a source of annual sorrow. The Centre and state governments should also come up with an alternative cycle of agriculture for the farmers which are in sync with the flood. The people of the region can no longer afford to be backward just because they are afflicted with a phenomenon that has been in existence right from the time of human memory.

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