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Rio seeks immediate Central assistance

By Bhadra Gogoi

DIMAPUR, Aug 2 - Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has sought immediate interim Central assistance and intervention to rescue the State from a crisis-like situation.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday night, Rio pointed out that unprecedented heavy rainfall in Nagaland has resulted in landslides and sinking of roads, causing extensive damage to infrastructure and properties all over the State besides claiming precious human lives.

He said landslides have damaged National and State Highways disrupting vehicular traffic at many places and snapping power lines and communication networks. Rio said the State Government was preparing a detailed report of damages, but the challenges were ongoing and the administration was constantly grappling with the problem on a daily basis.

The letter said supply of essential commodities, including petroleum products, to all district headquarters was not possible and stocks were getting depleted. In the foothills and plain areas, floods have caused enormous damage to life and property and submerged all colonies and villages in these areas.

He said the State Government was unable to address the challenges due to lack of resources, absence of adequate machineries and equipment and poor connectivity among other inadequacies.

Rio stated that while the local media had extensively covered the calamity, there was hardly a mention in the national media and thus it had become essential to draw the Prime Minister�s attention to the calamity in the State.

He informed that the government agencies in coordination with Nagaland Disaster Management Authority were making all out efforts for restoring damaged infrastructure and taking measures for relief and rehabilitation.

61 roads damaged: Meanwhile, incessant rains coupled with landslides damaged 61 roads in Nagaland and cut off of many areas in the State, according to an official report on Thursday.

The State Home department has tied up with Ministry of Home Affairs for airlifting essential commodities to the cut off areas. However, the operation has been hampered by inclement weather. The Department of Food and Civil Supplies has readied the foodgrains for transport as and when the air lifting is feasible, the release said.

While relief and humanitarian works are in full swing, massive restoration works of the affected highways and districts roads are continuing all over the State.

The Assam Rifles has provided two JCBs and a bulldozer to assist in the restoration works. Trucks and excavators of the various government departments have all been pressed into service to manage the unprecedented natural disaster in the State, triggered by unceasing rains in the last few weeks.

The release said the State Government is making all out efforts to send essential commodities, including petroleum products, to Kiphire and Pungro area which have been completely cut off by massive landslides. According to Kiphire district administration, the district has foodstocks to last for a couple of days and rationing has been imposed for both food and petroleum products.

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