Year 2020: Assam's Natural Disasters & Unforeseen Incidents, Yet Not a ‘National Calamity’
Besides “just” the world-wide pandemic, Assam has much more to deal with. While the country is busy calculating the numbers affected by the pandemic or observing political machinations in Rajasthan, Assam has added parameters – the annual devastating floods and the equally destructive erosion.
The damage incurred might not be as appealing as news to the nation; the Centre refuses to acknowledge flood and erosion as “national calamity” despite millions being affected every year.
Let’s have a look at the disaster reports of this year.
Land Slide Report: (as on July 12)
Districts affected: 7 - Kamrup (M), Kamrup, Dima Hasao, Cachar, Hailakandi, Karimganj, South Salmara
Population affected: 225
Houses damaged (Fully & Partially): 63
Public Infrastructure damage districts: 2 – Cachar, Dima Hasao
Assam flood - total affected: (as per 16th-17th July report)
Districts: 28 out of 33 districts
Animals (domestic): 20,90,682
Crop area (in hectares): 1,31,368.27
Relief camps and centres: 711
Inmates in relief camps: 51,421
Kaziranga flood: (as per 16th -17th July report)
Area affected: 95% of 430 sq kms
Animals dead: 86
Animals rescued: 125
Camps affected: 99 out of 223
Erosion in districts: (as on July 17)
Affected: 15 out of 33 districts (Majuli, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Charaideo, Sonitpur, Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Chirang, South Solmara, Bongaigoan, Udalguri, Nalbari, Baksa, Kokrajhar, Darrang)
COVID-19 pandemic: (as on July 18)
Did you know?
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal maintained in the 15th Finance Commission that the landmass of Majuli has been reduced to one-fourth of its original size of around 1500 square kilometres due to severe erosion. The CM himself is the representative of Majuli in the state assembly.
Funds allocated to Assam to tackle the disasters
For flood and landslide: As per Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), the 15th Finance Commission has allocated Rs. 858 crores under the State Disaster Respond Fund (SDRF). The total amount is received in two installments. The first installment of Rs. 386 crores have already been received by the state and the second installment is expected by September-October, 2020. Apart from this ASDMA also has a leftover opening balance of Rs. 355 crores from the previous financial year.
Out of these, Rs. 52,45,00,000 have already been dispersed to all districts and sub-divisions for utilization in relief measures. Further amounts are to be provided as per necessity.
For Covid-19 crisis: As the pandemic started in the last financial year, funds for the same have been adjusted in two financial years. Altogether, Rs. 75 crores has been dispersed by ASDMA to all districts, subdivisions and four Assam Bhawans, for maintenance of quarantine centres and relief purposes.
Further, Rs. 51,61,00,000 was given for providing “Greater Relief” (GR) to each reach Non-NFSA (Non-National Food Security Act) card holding poor families who have no other means of livelihood, at the rate of 5 kg per head rice, other than PHH members (Priority Households), government employees and well-off families. Further relief to be provided accordingly.