Assam, June 8: Assam is regularly lashed by the flood causing innumerable loss of life and property. In a report, Rashtriya Barh Ayog (RBA) states that out of 78.523 lakh hectare of the total area of the northeast states, 31.05 hectare is prone to severe flooding.
What makes Assam prone to flood?
Assam has faced deluge in 1952, 1962,1972, 1977, 1984, 1988, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2012 , 2019 and 2020 post-independence. What makes Assam vulnerable to floods? The Research shows that many factors contribute to the misery of the state during each monsoon. The estimated average annual loss to Assam due to yearly flood till now is 200 crore plus.
The northeast states, especially Assam, are prone to frequent earthquakes. Earthquakes lead to landslides, and as a result, a large amount of debris deposited in the river causes the river bed to rise. During the monsoon season, this contributes to the overflow of the water, causing the water to enter the cities.
The geographic location of Assam is a significant contributor to the deluge every year it faces. The state lies in the monsoon belt.
The Brahmaputra and the Barak are the major rivers, and their tributaries get flooded during the period of excessive rainfall and cause the deluge. In addition, the eastern Himalayas on the north and northeastern boundary of Meghalaya further forces the water down to the state.
The flash floods from the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya and cloud burst add onto the already submerged Assam during monsoon season.
The artificial factors have further added to the woes of the state. The factors like deforestation, improper management of drainage systems in the cities, and encroachment along the Brahmaputra banks cause a loss of a few hundred crores every year. In addition, the state loses an average of 8000 hectares of land per year due to erosion.
The water realized by the dams situated upstream in Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Meghalaya worsens the situation further for Assam during the rains.
Measures taken by the Government for better management of flood
The National Water Policy is responsible for managing the flood activities in Assam. Several schemes initiated include both immediate and long-term measures.
Drainage congestion in cities and other significant areas has been taken care of by the authorities in various parts of the state. In addition, the government is creating a better flood warning system to caution and evacuate the residents if need be to minimize the human loss.
Furthermore, embankments and floodwalls have been undertaken. The government has marked the flood zone for the convenience of the citizens.
The government’s long-term plan includes the diversion of excess water during the monsoon to the areas facing draught by interlinking the rivers. Though it is a cumbersome and long-term plan, it is the permanent solution to the flooding issue faced by Assam every year.
Assam houses more than 3000 wetlands and innumerable species of flora and fauna. Some of which are rare and unique to the region. The yearly flood episode hinders the progress and prosperity of the state. A definitive plan by the government is the need of the hour.