Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Assam on Tuesday to review the flood situation and relief works in the state, where scores of people have died in the last few weeks.
The prime minister, who arrived at the Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, was received by Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
From the airport, he flew by a helicopter to the Veterinary College Ground at Khanapara.
Modi then drove to the nearby Assam Administrative Staff College where he is scheduled to hold three meetings, before returning to New Delhi in the afternoon.
He was received at the Staff College by the chief minister, his cabinet colleagues and senior state government officials.
During his day-long visit, Modi will meet the chief ministers and top officials of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, to discuss the flood situation.
The Centre has already announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each under the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the kin of people killed and Rs 50,000 to seriously injured persons in the recent flood in Assam.
“The prime minister’s visit is mainly to find a permanent solution to the flood problem that Assam is facing,” state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said at a press conference in Guwahati.
The first meeting will be with the council of ministers and state officials. After that, the prime minister is likely to address a meeting of NDA legislatures from BJP, BPF and AGP, Sarma said.
When asked about the reported fund crunch to deal with the flood crisis, Sarma said Assam has enough funds. “We still have Rs 324 crore of unspent money. Last year the Centre had announced Rs 400 crore (for Assam), but did not send it because we had money,” he added.
Sarma, however, said the state government will submit a memorandum with some demands. Earlier on Monday, Congress leader and former chief minister Tarun Gogoi said Modi is paying a “token visit to the state only after facing severe criticism from all quarters as he visited Gujarat, but neglected Assam.”
Modi is slated to conduct an aerial survey of the affected areas. Reports also state that he is likely to give a public speech at around 2 pm on Tuesday.
A seven-member inter-ministerial central team had visited Assam on 25 July for four days to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of flood damage.
The water had been receding from affected areas in Assam, however, one more person was killed in Morigaon district on Monday taking the toll up to 83.
According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), about 5,000 people are still affected in Lakhimpur and Jorhat districts, and 366 people have taken shelter in four relief camps in the two districts.
This year, two waves of floods have affected over 25 lakh people in 29 districts of Assam, with the administration setting up 1,098 relief camps and distribution centres.