Sonowal warns NEEPCO not to plunge the people in difficulty by sudden water release

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, July 12: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal warned the North Eastern Electrical Power Corporation (NEEPCO) authorities not to release excess water from Ranganadi Hydro Electric Power Project without any prior warning.

In view of the flash flood in Lakhimpur district due to release of excess water by NEEPCO from its Ranganadi dam during previous years, Sonowal said that because of the sudden release of water by NEEPCO without any warning people in a large portion of Lakhimpur district had to face tremendous difficulty caused by flood in the last few years.

Reviewing the flood situation in Lakhimpur district at Lakhimpur DC office on Thursday,  the chief minister also highlighted the lack of planning in NEEPCO’s part in making a dam incapable of holding much water which results in inundation of Lakhimpur district till October-November.

Directing the NEEPCO authorities to build a reservoir for holding water, the chief minister urged the organisation to adopt advanced engineering technology and knowhow and he warned the organisation to stay prepared for paying for the losses of the people affected by flood caused by Ranganadi dam’s water in the coming days.

Issuing direction to the Lakhimpur district administration for concretising the raised platforms erected for providing shelter to the flood victims, Sonowal instructed for making the concrete platforms with multipurpose functionality and conducting survey of the land required for building the platforms.

The chief minister also directed the Health Department to organise health camps in flood-affected areas and visit the villages for providing medical services after the flood recedes.  Directing the Veterinary Department doctors to go to the villages for offering medical services to the animals, Sonowal instructed the department’s medical officers to work with sensitivity towards animals under the leadership of the Deputy Commissioner.

Instructing APDCL to ensure zero casualties due to electrocution during the floods, the chief minister directed APDCL to inspect all power transmission lines to prevent mishaps. He also directed the Water Resource Department to conduct surveys on the rivers during the winters for preparing technically correct DPRs to manage the floods effectively.

He also highlighted the need to start a course on river studies in the engineering colleges of the state for learning about the characteristics and history of the state’s rivers. The chief minister directed the food and civil supplies department to ensure that there is no scarcity of the essential commodities in the district during the floods and instructed the deputy commissioner to hold separate meetings with the petrol-diesel and LPG dealers for keeping adequate stock.

In view of the weakening of embankments and their faulty construction, the chief minister directed the water resources department to monitor the embankment construction works implemented by Zila Parishads under MGNREGA. Instructing the Deputy Commissioner to issue work completion certificate in consultation with Water Resources Department, Sonowal also directed the department to submit fitness certificates of the river embankments.

Reviewing the functioning of Public Works Department, the chief minister urged the department to work more actively. Directing all departments to ensure the benefits of government schemes reach the divyangs, Sonowal said the state government is taking a lot of steps for the welfare of the divyangs and he urged the government officials to identify the divyangs for providing services by visiting the villages.

He also directed the Public Works Department to repair the Kakoi-Rajgarh Bridge connecting the Lakhimpur and Dhakuakhana assembly constituencies.

Calling on the officers and staffs to work with a team spirit to overcome the challenges posed by flood, the chief minister said that the government has taken all steps beforehand to provide necessary relief and ensured releasing of ex-gratia within 48 hours under SDRF in case of a person’s death due to flood.

Directing the Deputy Commissioner to hold regular meetings with the department heads, Sonowal urged the officials to stay prepared to extend their services to the flood affected people in all times.

In the meeting, water resource minister Keshab Mahanta, MLAs Debananda Hazarika, Mamun Imdadul Hoque Choudhury, Dr Ranuj Pegu, prnicipal secretary (revenue and disaster management) Rajesh Prasad, secretary (water resource), Lakhimpur DC were also present among others.

Later in the day, the chief minister made a sudden visit to the revenue circle office at Kadam in the district and took stock of the overall functioning of the office. Interacting with the officials there, the chief minister urged them to deliver public services with dedication and keep the office premises clean in the spirit of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.  He also instructed the Revenue Circle Officer to hold regular meetings with the leading citizens of the area for involving the public in the government functioning.

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