Standing crop in about 3,23,000 hectares has been completely damaged. It will take months before the exact damage can be assessed. And if floods are there, surely epidemics can’t be far behind. While the raging waters have claimed over 30 lives, encephalitis has struck 70 dead. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has already asked the Centre to send in its team to take stock of the situation. International agencies like the UNICEF and the UNDP have started assessing the flood damage in Assam before they send in aid.
As for harnessing the Brahmaputra, there’s only a master plan—prepared by a statutory Brahmaputra Board, set up in 1981—that is gathering dust. Two massive multi-purpose dams on the Dehang and Subansiri rivers in Arunachal Pradesh, and smaller dams for other tributaries have been planned. And yet, political rivalry between Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur has prevented construction of three mega, multipurpose dams in the region, designed to control floods, from coming up. As of now, there’s no immediate solution to Assam’s annual misery.