oppn parties Lethargic Administration Aggravates Assam Flood Situation

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  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Lethargic Administration Aggravates Assam Flood Situation

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The administration in any Indian state almost always answers questions by citizens with lathis and sometimes with bullets. Upper Assam had witnessed torrential rains a few days ago. Due to this, the level of water in the Brahmaputra river had risen, obstructing normal flow of water from towns to the river. That much every citizen understood. But of the 18 districts affected by varying degree of flooding, the situation in Dibrugarh town was grim. Although there has been little rain there in the last three days, the water has not receded. Residents complain that no effort was made to pump out water from the roads, throwing their lives and businesses out of gear.

The citizens protested at several places to force the authorities to act and they asked questions. In reply, the police beat them up with lathis at Thana Chariali, near the Dibrugarh Police Station. Instead of talking to the protestors and explaining to them why it was taking so long to rectify the situation, brute force was used to try and silence them.

The administration does not understand that in this age of instant journalism by citizen journalists, social media and the Internet, it is very difficult to gloss over their inaction or mistakes. Social media is full of pictures of water logging in Dibrugarh town with boats being pressed into service. There are pictures also of the police dispersing the protestors with their lathis. Is this the way to handle genuine grievances?

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The absence of rains meant that the river level had sufficiently receded to accommodate the accumulated water on the roads of Dibrugarh town. Leaving water stagnating on the roads exposes residents to a host of diseases like malaria and flu as it will facilitate the breeding of larvae, apart from disturbing their lives. Someone has goofed up in the administration. Designated people have not done their jobs with the urgency the situation demanded. Do they have a disaster management plan in place? Is there a Plan B if Plan A does not work? The town mangers must answer these questions.

Residents of the town should continue to seek answers even if the situation becomes normal in a day or two. It is their right to seek better performance from town managers and more importantly, their duty, to keep the administration on its toes. This will ensure that the situation does not repeat itself in future.