NNN | SHILLONG, July 19: After a lull of just two days, rains have returned with a vengeance to the Garo Hills region, increasing fears of further water rise in an already beleaguered plain belt.
Unrelenting rains since early Sunday morning left many areas in Garo Hills prone to landslides in the hills, while the plains saw a recurrence of water rise, after this had subsided in the past two days.
The Ganol River, as per reports, has reached the danger mark in many places leading to fears that many places in South West Garo Hills will now be submerged. With very heavy rains being forecast over the coming days, the worst is yet to get over.
In the town of Tura itself, a section of a house of a local businessman in Fancy Valley was washed away while water rose over the Babupara switch gate.
As a precaution, all district administrations have advised people to not venture out unnecessarily and not to go near streams and rivers.
Rains in North Garo Hills have resulted in all rivers flowing through the district rising above the danger mark with the subway in Soksan being run over by water.
Further, the South West Garo Hills administration has also been asked to expect the worst after rains continued overnight and is likely to continue for some time.
The administration has announced Gratuitous Relief for four days for about nine villages that have been severely affected by the current deluge. More reports of the area are still awaited.
The worst affected for now are the people who are already reeling under flood waters in the three C&RD Blocks of Demdema, Tikrikilla and Selsella. More than 1.5 lakh people have already been affected with the current rains likely to increase the number further.
“The water level had come down in the past two days and we were hoping things would get better but with rains arriving once again, there is a fear of flash flooding as well as an increase in water levels of the Brahmaputra and Jinjiram Rivers. The situation is scary,” said one SR Sangma from Phulbari.
With Gratuitous Relief (GR) being announced for just one week, many have questioned whether the state government and the local administration were serious enough to tackle the situation.
Leader of the opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma, who paid a visit to the affected areas in the past two days expressed skepticism on whether seven days relief would suffice. Dr Sangma had visited Mahendraganj, where floods have still not been declared despite the water rise and the plain belt in West Garo Hills.
“With the forecast for more incessant rain in the coming days and the Covid-19 pandemic in the backdrop, the situation needs to be dealt with utmost sincerity and prompt decisions and actions must be taken by the administration for proper handling of the ongoing crisis. With PHCs being shifted temporarily and police outposts being submerged, the government of the day must immediately provide resources and attention to these affected areas which are facing the most difficult problems at this hour,” said Dr Sangma.
He felt that while the people and their livestock have shifted to temporary shelters on higher ground, their future remains uncertain since relief has been announced only for a week.
The Deputy Commissioner of West Garo Hill, Ram Singh meanwhile confirmed that there had been no extension of relief for now and that a call will be taken on the matter soon.
The worst affected have been those that have not been able to move to relief camps and are parked by the side of the AMPT road. Their lives and livestock are currently in danger from both the pandemic as well as the rising flood waters.
“We have not been able to go back as the water has still not receded enough for us to be out of danger. We have no shelter and sometimes nothing above our heads. We are literally living with our livestock,” said a victim from near Rajabala.
Featured Image for Representational. Cr – Unsplash