PM, Sonia to visit flood-hit Assam, toll rises to 61

July 1st, 2012 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Guwahati, July 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will make an aerial survey of some of the flood-affected areas of Assam Monday, a minister said Sunday, as the death toll in the floods, affecting 27 districts of the state, has gone up to 61.

However, the water levels of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries are now receding after the incessant rains, though large stretches of land are still inundated, said officials.

“Barring last minute changes, both the prime minister and Congress president will come together. The VVIPs will directly fly to Jorhat where Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will receive them,” the senior minister, who did not want to be named, told IANS.

He said that the prime minister and Gandhi are expected to reach Jorhat around 11 a.m. Monday and are likely to make a 30-minute aerial visit of some of the flood-affected areas of Upper Assam, including river island Majuli, which had witnessed its worst-ever floods since 1950.

The VVIPs will return to New Delhi Monday evening.

Gogoi, who was in the US for an official visit, has already arrived in New Delhi and likely to reach Guwahati Sunday. The chief minister has also convened an urgent meeting of his cabinet colleagues and top bureaucrats at his official residence here to discuss the flood situation and the VVIPs’ visit.

The floods have affected all of Assam’s 27 districts, killing 61 people till Saturday evening and damaging large areas of cropland, said the sources in the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMA).

Besides, 16 people have also died due to landslides, triggered by incessant rains at various locations of the state in the past two weeks, they said.

“However, the figures might increase as we are receiving reports of more bodies being fished out in different locations,” a source said.

“The flood situation has been improving since Friday as the rains have stopped. On Sunday, the water levels of Brahmapura river and some of its tributaries showed receding trends at many places. However, large human habitations and cropland are still submerged in many districts,” the source said.

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