I stand with people of Assam, their soldier in Parliament: Rahul Gandhi

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Congress MP Rahul Gandhi meets flood-hit people at Fulertal in Lakhimpur district of Assam.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi meets flood-hit people at Fulertal in Lakhimpur district of Assam.

Silchar: Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that he stands with the people of Assam and is their ''soldier in Parliament''.

He urged the Centre to extend all possible help and support to the state immediately.

''I stand with the people of Assam, I am their soldier in Parliament, and I urge the central government to extend all possible help and support to the state expeditiously'', Gandhi posted on 'X', after visiting a flood relief camp at Fulertal in Assam's Cachar district.

Assam needs a ''comprehensive and compassionate vision-relief, rehabilitation and compensation in the short term, and a pan-Northeast water management authority to do everything necessary to control floods in the long term'', he said.

''The extreme devastation caused by flooding in Assam is heartbreaking-with innocent children like 8-year old Avinash being taken away from us. My heartfelt condolences to all the bereaved families across the state'', he said.

Avinash and his father fell into an uncovered drain from a scooter in Guwahati city and though his father survived, the child's body was recovered from a drain four km downstream after three days on Sunday.

Gandhi said that the Assam Congress leaders apprised him of the situation on the ground where over 24 lakh people have been affected, 53,000 and above people displaced and more than 60 people lost their lives.

''These numbers reflect the ''gross and grave mismanagement by BJP's double engine government which came to power with the promise of a flood-free Assam'', he added.

The Congress leader also visited a camp of internally displaced people who had taken shelter at Thalain in Cachar district following the violence in neighbouring Manipur and interacted with them.

Earlier the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha was received at the Kumbhirgram airport here by Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhupen Borah and other senior state and district party leaders.

Borah submitted a memorandum to Gandhi urging him to take up the issue of the devastating flood with the Centre as a special case to get adequate relief and compensation for the severe losses incurred due to the deluge.

''We will be grateful to you for carrying our voice of agony to the Centre'', he said.

Assam should get a package to tackle the grim situation, ''as the state government has failed to get adequate funds from the Centre, a double failure of the double engine government'', Borah added.

The state Congress president alleged that during the last five years, the double-engine BJP government has not given any importance to repair and reconstruction of embankments.

''In these five years, the BJP government in Assam has requested the BJP government at the Centre for Rs 10,785 crore for flood-related relief and reconstruction but received a mere Rs 250 crore'', he claimed.

Borah also claimed that the key to Assam's flood problem lay in the hills and due to large-scale deforestation in the hills, there is large-scale siltation in the rivers which leads to the rising of the riverbed, reducing the carrying capacity of Assam's rivers.

''During the monsoon season and with climate change, we are getting extreme rainfall with the water discharge being beyond the carrying capacity of the rivers'', he said.

The long-term solution to the problem, therefore, is ''a pan-Northeast water management authority, suitably empowered by Parliament to do everything necessary to control floods'', he said.

The short-term solution is strengthening the current flood management infrastructure like embankments, and providing immediate relief and rehabilitation to those affected, he said.

Congress leaders, MPs, MLAs, frontal heads, and district committees and other party organisations are touring the flood-affected areas and helping the people, he added. Gandhi will return to Silchar airport from Jiribam, and fly to Imphal for the next leg of his Manipur tour.