Cong MP writes to parliamentarians to press upon Centre to declare Assam floods national calamity
Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi | File image

New Delhi: Ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Congress MP from Assam Pradyut Bordoloi has written to all fellow parliamentarians to press upon the Centre for declaring the floods in his home state a national calamity and provide more funds for tackling the situation.

In a letter to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, Bordoloi said Assam is witnessing a second wave of flooding within a month, which is far more severe in comparison to the floods the northeastern state saw in the last decades, along with severe riverbank erosion.

Given the nature and scale of flooding in Assam, he said this involves the larger question of river-basin management, adding that the role and support of the Union government is key.

Bordoloi said the comprehensive tackling of flooding and riverine erosion cannot be left to the meagre resources of a single state like Assam. He said according to data provided in the Lok Sabha, no funds were released from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to the state in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2021-22.

Against the state government’s demand for Rs 2,642.99 crore for restoration work in 2020-21, only an amount of Rs 44.37 crore was released, he added.

“Ahead of the Monsoon Session, I have written to my colleagues in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, raising the issue of annual flood devastation in Assam and urging that the plight of our people be taken up in Parliament across state and party lines,” Bordoloi said on Twitter while sharing his letter to the MPs.

“In the upcoming Monsoon session of Parliament, I urge Members of Parliament across party and state lines to consider raising the demand for comprehensive and sustainable interventions for flooding and erosion in Assam, for flooding to be declared as a national calamity, and for responsibility of flood management and control to be fixed primarily with the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, among other recommendations by the Standing Committee on Water Resources in 2020-21,” he said in his letter to the MPs.

The Congress leader said his party’s long-standing plea to declare flooding in Assam a national calamity should be taken up as this is a perennial problem of the northeastern state and has to be addressed holistically.

“With 40 per cent of Assam’s area (close to 32 lakh hectares) being flood-prone, roughly four times higher than the national mark of 10.2 per cent, the issue of water-induced disasters in Assam is too grave to be relegated as a regional or state demand,” he said.

“In this time of crisis, I also request you to use your platform to amplify this much sidelined issue to consider appealing to the Union government for an increase in the quantum of central aid for Assam, and to contribute to relief efforts in any way you can,” he told the MPs.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament is scheduled to begin from July 18.

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