Activist seeks 14 day relief extension in flood ravaged Garo Hills

NNN | SHILLONG, July 23: Social activist from the plain belt of West Garo Hills, Ishraful Hoque, has written to Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma, seeking an extension to Gratuitous Relief (GR) for a period of another 14 days.

The demand for extension comes in the wake of another rise in water levels in the affected areas since last night after receding for a day or two. The rise in water level is being attributed to rains in the upper reaches of Assam with the back flow of the Brahmaputra creating havoc in both states. Fear of the water rise continuing has become real, with many families, who had returned home, once again looking for higher ground.

“The sanctioned GR of 7 days is not enough as water levels have started to rise once again since last night. It will take time for the flood victims to get back to their normal lives so a GR extension of 14 days is necessary,” said Hoque in his letter.

The activist added that if water levels continued to increase, deployment of SDRF personnel would be necessary for search and rescue operations.

“Most of the plain belt residents are daily wage earners and thus poor. The pandemic has devastated most of them and this merciless flood has now broken the backbone of the people,” he added.

Further the activist sought the creation of vigilance committees in the region to ensure that the victims of the current deluge received what is due to them.

“A vigilance committee is a must to ensure relief is not siphoned. Many villages (Lower Nolbari, Purnonagar and Bholarbitha) are already complaining of not receiving their due relief. In order to ensure a stop to such illegal acts, a committee needs to be formed,” said Ishraful.

He also urged the government to look at a more permanent solution to the annual flood problem faced by the plain belt.

“Crores are spent every year as flood relief. These problems can be resolved through the setting up of embankments through the Rongai Valley MIP. It will ease the problems of the people while preventing flooding,” felt Hoque.

IMG Garo Hills flood 20190713 WA0024 1024x472 1
Image: Shillong Mail
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