FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
Itanagar, July 11: As many as 14 people were buried alive when a massive landslide hit Laptap village in Sagalee sub-division in Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.
The incident occurred at around 3.30 pm when a massive landslide triggered by incessant rains for the past four days hit three dwellings in the village, informed additional deputy commissioner Jalash Pertin. Rescue operation was going on, but chances for finding any survivors were slim, he added.
Torrential rains for the past couple of days have disrupted surface communication besides water supply and electricity in capital Itanagar as well as in other parts of the State.
The State capital was virtually cut off on Tuesday with its lifeline NH 415 getting totally eroded at entry point, while the alternate road via Jullang remained blocked, leaving only one road through Hollongi enroute Lakhimpur district in Assam.
Earlier, Chief Minister Pema Khandu convened an emergency meeting late on Monday night to review the flood situation in the State and discuss ways to tackle the situation.
The condition of Barapani Bridge, the lifeline between Naharlagun and Itanagar, came up for discussion too. The CM sought immediate construction of alternative bridges to connect the twin cities.
Khandu directed Itanagar administration to issue orders for evacuation of people living in vulnerable areas of the capital city to safer areas and appealed to people in vulnerable areas to shift to relief camps.
He also asked the authorities to provide food, medicines, healthcare, drinking water and other services at the temporary relief camp set up the Gyan Ganga School campus.
“Inspect and map all vulnerable points in the State capital so that any emergency situation can be handled effectively,” Khandu said and told all departments to prepare a time-bound action plan to tackle the flood situation and send updates to the Home Ministry.
On flood relief, Khandu asked officials to inform the Centre for immediate release of SDRF funds. He also asked them to convey to the Centre the need to send a team to assess the flood damage.
PHE and WS Minister Bamang Felix said the disaster in the capital region is man-made as people have flouted safety norms. He called for strict rules to prevent rampant earth-cutting and construction of high-rise buildings in river catchment and other vulnerable areas.
Echoing Felix, UD Parliamentary Secretary Techi Kaso called for proper scrutiny of flood damage report submitted by affected people since funds are siphoned off through forged reports.
Health Parliamentary Secretary Phurpa Tsering outlined the vulnerable points in the capital region and requested the administration to depute teams for evacuation of people. He also informed Khandu about the grim situation of Bomdila town, which is reportedly sinking due to flood water.
Disaster Management Parliamentary Secretary Kaling Moyong said the Mebo Bridge was under threat of being washed away. He also requested the CM for high-speed motorboats in major rivers for saving lives during the flooding.
The meeting was also attended Principal Secretary Satya Gopal, PWD Commissioner Belatee Pertin, Disaster Management Secretary Jokey Angu and Capital DC Prince Dhawan.
Urban Development and Land Management Minister Nabam Rebia on Monday advised people to take precautionary measures during monsoon as “we cannot fight with nature”.
Along with Papum Pare DC Tai Kaye, Doimukh SDO Ibom Tao, WRD AE Nich Apa, ASMC Yab Lotus, ASM T Podomi, senior citizens and youth leaders, Rebia visited Huto and Kolma villages in Doimukh circle and other flood-affected places.
The team inspected the land protection constructed by the NEEPCO and state government along the bank of river Dikrong. They found the protection wall damaged by the overflowing river at many stretches including Doimukh Township.
Rebia said that it is imperative to respect nature in order to avoid disasters caused by flood and landslides. He, however, said officials would be asked to take stronger measures to protect life and property in Doimukh.
Appealing to the people not to construct houses on river banks, dig river beds for sand, gravel and bounders, Rebia said a new bridge has been approved on river Pare after reports that a hanging bridge at Ranghat has collapsed.
Kaye said the district administration is equipped to tackle any eventuality and warned against rumour-mongering, particularly about a NEEPCO dam under construction. “There is no reservoir upstream and thus there is no question of discharging of huge volume of water,” he said.
In view of the rising water level, people in areas such as Chandranagar, Senki View and Barapani people were asked to immediately evacuate and move to the relief camps or to a safer location.
A report from Seppa informed that surface communication has been wholly or partially snapped in East Kameng district with rivers Kameng, Bichom, Pappu, Pakke and their tributaries flowing above the danger mark. At Seppa, the water level of river Kameng was 394 metres.
Habitations such as Bameng, Chayangtajo, Gyawepurang and Pipu have been cut off for the fifth consecutive day.
DC Rajeev Takuk directed the ADC Seijosa and CO Pakke Kessang to form sub-divisional relief committee to assess the area, especially of Ngoleko village where houses, granaries, agriculture land and fish ponds have been damaged extensively.
Takuk said the heavy monsoon onslaught has severely affected preparation of by-election to the 12 Pakke Kessang assembly seat. Some polling stations such as Yarte Poube and A-2 Block have been submerged.
The West Siang district is facing a similar situation with many parts cut off from district headquarters Aalo. The Sector Road connecting the colonies has been damaged while the Pakam Tinali-Kombo Jirdin, Tai-Liromoba, Aalo-Kamba, Aalo-Mechuka, Aalo-Pangin, Nitke-Nyorak and Aalo-Likabali roads have been cut off due to heavy landslides and erosion.
Water supply to Aalo has been disrupted but officials said efforts were on to repair the pipelines soon. Areas flanking Sipu, Siyom, Hirik, Hiru, Piggo, Kebu and other rivers have also been badly affected.
The district administration and Disaster Response Team are closely monitoring the situation along with Army, ITBP and police personnel. West Siang DC Gamli Padu along with EE PWD inspected several areas such as Upper and Medical Colony.