Guwahati, July 30
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday promised adequate assistance to Assam and said the Central government will take an expeditious decision on the state government's demands, even as death toll due to floods in Bihar and Assam together crossed 50.
Many rivers were flowing above danger level in Bihar as swirling flood waters continued to wreak havoc in the state with 26.19 lakh people affected.
Rivers which are flowing above danger level are Baghmati at Benibad, Kamlabalan at Jhanjharpur, Kosi at Baltara, Mahananda at Dhengra ghat and Jhawa in the state, the Disaster Management Department said in a statement.
Rajnath Singh, who reached Assam earlier in the day, conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected areas with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
He also visited Bhagatgaon camp set up for the flood-affected residents in Morigaon district.
Addressing the media later, Singh said at least 28 districts of the state have been affected by floods.
"I have been told that around 26 people have died over the past one week due to floods in Assam and state government has announced Rs 4 lakh compensation to the families of victims," Singh said.
"The (Central) government will provide all assistance to the Assam government. I congratulate Assam Chief Minister and his state officers for arrangements in the flood-affected areas," he added.
The Home Minister said he had asked the state government to "adequately utilise the money in the National Disaster Relief Fund." He also lauded the work of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Army in providing relief to the flood-affected people.
Some 26 people died and 19 lakh people in 22 districts have been affacted by floods in the state.
When asked if the Centre will declare the problem as national calamity, the Home Minister said giving a name to the problem will not help.
"Declaring flood as national calamity is not a solution. We should address why floods take place, what steps we should take and how we will minimise the damage.
"I will ask the state government to prepare an action plan on the problem. We have to address it through long-term planning. Only short-term measures will not help," he said.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has said that the railways will provide free wagons for transportation of essential commodities to the flood-affected districts of Assam.
In Uttar Pradesh, all major rivers of Terai region are in spate due to continuous rain in upper Himalayan reaches and excess water release from barrages.
The administration has set up as 41 relief camps in the districts affected.
The situation also remains grim in Bihar, where 26 people have died in flood-related accidents.
Most casualties have been reported from Supaul, Purnia and Kishanganj. Mahanandas’ river-waters have spread to Katihar, Purnia and Kishanganj, causing floods.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said the embankments would be constructed to check Mahananda in five phases.
Flood alert has also been issued in Tamil Nadu, where heavy rain has hit normal life. Heavy rain in Karnataka has led to water, spilling over into the rivers and lakes in Krishnagiri and Salem districts of Tamil Nadu.
Rain continues to lash Bengaluru. Floods have been reported in several parts of the city. — Agencies
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