Narendra Modi's visit, assistance to flood-hit Gujarat draws flak from 'ignored' Assam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to flood-hit Gujarat and announcement of Rs 500-crore package for the state has drawn flak from various sections in Assam, who have alleged neglect of their state by the central government.

While Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), a prominent farmers' organisation in Assam, has condemned the attitude of the prime minister, Congress spokesman and former state minister Pradyut Bordoloi blasted the prime minister and the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for Assam's neglect.

 Narendra Modis visit, assistance to flood-hit Gujarat draws flak from ignored Assam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducts an aerial survey of flood-affected areas of Gujarat. PTI

They alleged that the central government was neglecting devastating floods in Assam that have led to 76 persons' death and affected over 25 lakh residents. The ASDMA said around 90,000 people suffered in Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Barpeta, Morigaon, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Karimganj and Cachar districts.

"We do not have any objection to the prime minister announcing Rs 500 crore for the state of Gujarat. But people of Assam are also suffering from devastating floods. What stopped him from announcing a package for Assam to tide over the situation?" asked KMSS president Akhil Gogoi.

"The prime minister often delivers emotional dialogues regarding Assam and the Northeast. But he should have considered Assam even when the state is witnessing one of its worst ever floods. The central government has sent a team now when the water has started receding. What will they see and assess now?" asked Gogoi.

Bordoloi said the people of Assam and Northeast had long been suffering from the Centre's neglect. "Earlier, prime ministers at least made attempts to reach out to people here in times of crisis. But Modi visits Assam only during elections or to inaugurate a bridge which was originally constructed by the Congress," Bordoloi said.

"He is a good actor and he has shown his true colours with his visit to Gujarat, which is economically stronger than Assam. He did not even have time to visit Assam, he sent a junior minister to take stock of the situation here," said Bordoloi, adding that this showed the government's seriousness towards the issue.

Modi, who flew over Banaskantha, Sabarkantha and Patan districts of north Gujarat, had said a team of the union urban development and rural development ministries would visit the state to assess the extent of damage and suggest short-term as well as long-term measures.

Modi told reporters at the Ahmedabad airport, "In such situations, it is the farmers who suffer the most. Insurance companies may be advised to quickly organise assessment of damage to crops and assets of farmers to initiate immediate steps to settle claims."

Modi was accompanied by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel during the aerial survey.

However, Assam's BJP leader and state health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the people of the state were not a showpiece that leaders needed to come here to see them. "We have the power to withstand our sorrows. We'll call the prime minister to the state whenever we achieve something," said Sarma, rebutting the criticism.

At least 25 persons, including 14 members of one family, were found dead on Wednesday in two villages of Gujarat's Banaskantha district due to floods following torrential rains.

According to the state emergency operation centre, the death toll across the state in the current monsoon stood at 94. In all, Gujarat has registered 534 mm of rain, which is 66 percent of its total seasonal average of 810 mm. "Three persons lost their lives in the last 24 hours in Banaskantha," Patel said.

As many as 46,000 people have been moved to safety in Banaskantha till Tuesday evening, even as 1,000 more were rescued. A total of 472 villages in the district are without electricity, with six national highways, 61 other roads and 287 panchayat roads closed for vehicular traffic.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 27, 2017 16:44:13 IST