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Floods halt Baghjan blaze containment work

By Ron Duarah

DIBRUGARH, June 27 - Following incessant rains in upper Assam and its adjoining areas in Arunachal Pradesh in the past few days, all rivers and tributaries are flowing at or above danger levels. The Baghjan area too has been affected as the swollen Dangori river has inundated the gaswell flare site. This has forced the OIL management to call off blaze control and allied activities for the day today. Given the flooding of Baghjan area and all roads leading to the site, all activities may have to be kept in suspension on Sunday too, according to a senior OIL official.

Heavy rainfall all over upper Assam has caused severe difficulty in operating vehicles and machinery at the Baghjan site. The only better road to the flare site, via Gellapukhuri too has been inundated by Friday evening, making it unsafe for vehicular traffic. The nearby Dangori and Dibru rivers are in high spate, while the Brahmaputra, which is a little distance away from Baghjan, is causing flood fury throughout the river�s valley, from Sadiya to Dhuburi.

The two CMT pumps (these crisis management team pumps are high discharge pumpsets specially fabricated to throw water at 2,500 gallons per minute at the gaswell blaze) have been submerged by floodwaters of the Dangori river. Operating these would now require a servicing, which will be done on-site as soon as the rains subside.

For the 640 families at the three Guijan relief camps and the almost 1,800 families at the dozen-odd relief camps in Baghjan Dighaltarrang, the inundation of the relief shelter areas has added to their misery. Going to the toilets has also become extremely distressing exercise and the present state of hygiene has all the ingredients to make the inmates sick.

This morning, Chabua MLA Binod Hazarika, accompanied by a team of office-bearers of the All Assam Muttuck Sanmilan, visited several Guijan side villages of the greater Natungaon area. All the MLA offered were some verbal assurances. With living conditions worsening at the Guijan shelters, the nearby Borguri High School campus may be made a safer venue, said Sanmilan president Saroj Gohain.

Meanwhile, All Assam Muttuck Youth Federation president and Congress leader Pronab Baruah questioned about the status of the Rs 5-crore porcupine work that was announced for Tengabari, Rongmala and Mirigaon. He also accused Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal of announcing schemes and then forgetting about these. He said the Natungaon villages near Guijan also need immediate erosion protection measures.

If the successive Congress governments have not been able to handle floods and erosion, neither has the BJP, as is apparent.

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