Authorities closed educational institutions and suspended train services as incessant rains triggered massive floods across Assam, officials said on Thursday, as rescue workers struggled to reach thousands of marooned people in remote areas of the northeastern state.
The Brahmaputra and its tributaries, fed by heavy rains along the Himalayan foothills, breached embankments in several districts and inundated homes and farmland, forcing people to seek shelter in relief camps set up by the government.
Floods are an annual feature in the plains of Assam, which receives heavy rainfall during the monsoons. Successive governments have been accused of failing to evolve a fool-proof mechanism to tackle the natural phenomenon, prompting an exasperated chief minister Tarun Gogoi to ask the people to “learn to live with the floods”.
Officials of the state disaster response department said in Guwahati that administration in worst-hit Bongaigaon district on Thursday ordered closure of schools and colleges in view of the situation.
The Northeast Frontier Railways suspended train services in lower Assam after flood water inundated a stretch of the track at Bijni in Chirang district.
Several trains going to and from the state, including the Rajdhani Express, were stranded at different places, the NF Railway spokesperson Nripen Bhattacharyya told Hindustan Times.
“Train services have been affected in lower Assam since 8.35am today. A restoration team has been sent to the spot,” he added.
At least 11 out of the state’s 26 districts are in the grip of the latest wave of floods, the officials added.
Assam water resources minister Basanta Das said all concerned departments are working in tandem to evacuate marooned people and provide relief to the affected.
In Kokrajhar district, which falls in the autonomous Bodo-administered council area, the administration sought the help of Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to evacuate marooned people in 21 villages.
Flood waters also washed away a portion of NH-31 at Kachugaon in the district on Thursday morning,
According to the Central Water Commission, the Brahmaputra and most of its tributaries are flowing above their danger levels all along their courses since Wednesday.
The situation was also grim in the river-island of Majuli – the seat of Vaishnavite culture and heritage – in Jorhat district as surging waters of the Brahmaputra inundated over fifty villages. The district administration also suspended ferry services to Majuli from the mainland.
Official sources said nearly two lakh people in over 280 villages in the state have been affected by the floods. Besides, more than 12,600 hectares of crop area are also under water currently.
Authorities have opened 45 relief camps in Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Chirang.
(With PTI inputs)