Dialogue January-March, 2007, Volume 8 No. 3
Disaster Management in Assam
One of the main causes of impoverishment of the rural areas of Assam has been the recurrent floods which result in the degradation of agricultural soil, loss of life and property and great suffering to the affected people. Several waves of flood every year leave behind great damage beside much misery and suffering.1 What is more reprehensible is the trend towards galloping increase in the damages caused in each succeeding year. In one of the worst floods in living memory in 1998 the level of submergence crossed all previous records. Out of Assam’s then existing 23 districts as many as 21 were affected in the most devastating flood which caused the death of 105 persons, loss of 7814 cattle-heads, demolition of 30399 houses and complete destruction of standing crops on 288900 hectares of fertile land. The requirement of fund for relief, restoration and rehabilitation was put at Rs.1000 crores in a memorandum submitted by the Government of Assam (GoA) to the Government of India (GoI). The annual damages have increased since then. In his Memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister on November 21, 2004, the Assam Chief Minister stated that the damage due to flood during 2004 was tremendous. It affected a population of 1,30,00,000. A total of 491 people were killed. The loss of cattle was estimated at 65,000. More than 6 lakh houses were damaged. The damage to crops, properties, buildings and public infrastructure, such as bridges, roads and embankments amounted to Rs.2,400 crores in terms of money. GoI’s assistance that year was the highest – Rs.557 crores.
Those on the margin of existence suffer more during the flood havoc. Many of these people, specially the youth, join the insurgent outfits because they become unemployed and have no other income to fall back upon. Insurgency causes great damages to the economy which further impoverishes the common man. This vicious cycle has struck Assam and the state has been unable to break the cycle or get out of the quagmire.2
Various local organizations as well as the state government have been demanding, for a long time, that Assam’s floods should be recognized as a national problem. It is believed that if that was done Assam would have got all central assistance for structural flood control measures as grant. At present Assam is getting the major portion of such assistance as loan. During the financial years from 1974-75 to 1999-2000, for example, Assam got a total of Rs.401.03 crores as central assistance for structural measures out of which Rs.390.94 crores was in the shape of loans and only Rs.10.09 crores as grants. GoA has been demanding waiving of repayment of the loans. But GoI has not agreed. Since this issue has not been resolved it has remained as a sore point in the relations between GoA and GoI. In his Memorandum to the Prime Minister cited above, the Assam Chief Minister reiterated that “the tackling of floods and erosion in Assam may be treated as a national problem funded entirely by the Government of India. The Brahmaputra Board, which has failed to make any impact, may be revamped”.
The local media play up this problem from time to time. Different public organizations, including student unions, agitate over this issue which vitiate the political atmosphere and give a boost to insurgency.3 In addition and as distinct from the structural flood control measures, Assam gets large amounts form GoI out of the Calamity Relief Fund. In fact, 75 percent of the annual expenditure on non-structural calamity relief is given to the states by GoI on fulfillment of certain conditions and as recommended by the succeeding Finance Commissions. Even these amounts are not considered adequate against the huge annual damages.
Attention has been paid to prevention of floods and for rescue, relief and rehabilitation of the victims only after independence. Earlier, the British Indian Government more or less ignored this problem. Since 1954, prevention of flood has been attempted through certain structural measures such as construction of embankments, dykes and river training. During this period, a total of 4448 kilometres of embankments, 629 of protection and anti-erosion works, 85 major sluices and 850 kilometres of drainage channels have been constructed in the state with the hope of controlling floods. Non-structural measures for rescue, relief and rehabilitation have been codified and put on a systematic basis.4
The extent of inundation and the intensity of floods in Assam have increased considerably since the great earthquake of August 15, 1950 which violently lifted up the river bed of the Brahmaputra. During that period substantial portions of the vulnerable areas on the banks of the river, which were earlier available for the river’s play, were encroached upon as a consequence of the tremendous population explosion due to illegal immigration of millions of Bangladeshis into Assam. Moreover, heavy denudation of the forest cover due to deforestation and shifting cultivation have occurred in the upper reaches. This has removed all barriers to immediate flow of rain water to the river. This has accentuated the problem in a belt where the annual rate of precipitation is 2125 to 4142 mms. Moreover, 85 percent of this precipitation is concentrated during the period from late May to second week of October. The narrowness of the Brahmaputra Valley, which is only 80 to 90 kilometres wide, and the extremely braided nature of the river itself make it difficult for the total annual discharge of over 400 million acre feet of water (one third of all the rivers of India) and 735 million tonnes of suspended sediment load to have an even passage through the main channels during the monsoon season.
The first step in connection with flood management is warning. For this purpose the danger level of each river at each strategic point has been determined after elaborate discussion between the Central and the State flood management authorities. For example, the danger level of the river Lohit at Tezu, a district town in Arunachal Pradesh, is 195.04 metres above the mean sea level (MSL). Similarly, the danger level of the river Siang at Pasighat, another district town in Arunachal Pradesh, is 183.46 metres above MSL. The rivers Siang and Lohit meet near Dholla, which is about 30 kilometers east of Dibrugarh, to form the main water body of the river Brahmaputra. At Dibrugarh the danger level of the Brahmaputra river is 103.74 metres above MSL.
The travel times of flood from one point to another have also been worked out. For example, it takes 18 hours for flood water to flow down from Tezu to Dibrugarh and 12 hours from Pasighat to Dibrugarh. Between Dibrugarh, the easternmost district town in Assam, and Dhubri, the westernmost district town, it takes 111 hours for the Brahmaputra flood water to flow down. Similarly, in respect of all other rivers the travel time of flood water from one point to another have been worked out.
The Flood Control Department (currenly renamed as the Water Resources Department) have also prepared districtwise maps showing the very vulnerable areas, the vulnerable areas and the protected areas. The very vulnerable areas have been defined as “the areas which remain almost entirely under water and get totally isolated by disruption of all means of communication whenever there is any flood”. The vulnerable areas have been defined as “the areas which remain under water and get totally isolated by disruption of all means of communication only when there is heavy floods and also due to back-water effects and drainage congestion”. Protected areas are areas protected by embankments and dykes.5
These maps are required to be revised every year by the end of January and submitted to the respective Deputy Commissioners who are then expected to take action, well before the flood season, to get the repair, reconstruction and new schemes approved by GoA and implemented by the Water Resources Department for digging of drains to prevent water congestion in localized depressions and for construction or repair of embankments to protect agricultural land against flood.
An elaborate flood warning system has also been worked out. During the flood season, approximately from May 15 to October 15 each year, the water levels of different rivers at different points have to be intimated by the Flood Forecasting Circle of the Central Water Commission at Guwahati to the Control Room of the State Water Resources Department twice daily.
The actual water levels have to be forecasted and intimated as soon as it reaches one metre below the danger level in accordance with the time table laid down for different points on different rivers. For example, based on the observation in the stations upstream of Dibrugarh the water level at Dibrugarh has to be forecast 12 hours in advance. Along with the forecast the respective Executive Engineers of the Water Resources Department have to issue bulletins giving all the necessary information including the time of crossing of the danger level by any river, breaches in embankments and dykes, erosion and other occurrences. These bulletins are circulated twice daily by the Control Room at Guwahati and broadcast over different stations of AIR in the North Eastern Region.
The warning system is quite elaborate. Only human failure or breakdown of the communication network might cause disasters without notice. However, it would have been more meaningful if regular information could be obtained from the source or at least from upstream about the position of the river Tsangpo in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. The river Tsangpo becomes Siang when it enters India. Flood warning from Lhasa would have allowed more time for taking precautionary measures in the Brahmaputra Valley.
The next phases are rescue, relief and rehabilitation. During British times except for the provisions made in the Bengal Famine code there were no systematic procedures laid down for organization of relief.6 Certain guiding principles were communicated by the British Indian Government in 1893 in the shape of a Provisional Code. A few State Governments issued Codes and Instructions. Then there was the famous Treasury Rule 27 under which the Collector (generally designated as Deputy Commissioner in Assam) could withdraw money from the Treasury without obtaining a formal sanction in the “circumstances of urgency”. Subsidiary Order 210 defines such circumstances as follows: “Prevention of loss of life and property resulting from disasters, such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, fires, etc.” and “Safeguarding against the loss of life and property threatened by the washing away of embankments, collapsing of bridges on rivers, canals, railways, etc.”7
In Assam, a set of Executive Instructions for dealing with such situations were issued in 1959. There were many comments and suggestions for a revision of the Instructions and also for a systematic approach to these problems. I had published a case study based on my experience of dealing with one of the worst floods in living memory which occurred in October, 1968 and caused havoc in the northern districts of West Bengal, some districts of present Bangladesh and a part of the erstwhile united Goalpara district of Assam. I happened to be the Deputy Commissioner of the district at the time the flood occurred.8
In 1976, the Government of Assam codified the instructions and issued the Assam Relief Manual. This Manual, as amended and revised from time to time, lays down the steps to be taken in preparation for floods and other natural calamities and for rescue, relief and rehabilitation once the calamity has taken place. It also lays down the precise role to be played by different departments and functionaries and the measures to be taken by each of them at different stages. Moreover, the measures of relief, the various items to be distributed, the manner of such distribution, the reports to be submitted to different authorities, the accounts to be maintained, the financial powers delegated and similar other matters are dealt with exhaustively.
In Assam, the Relief and Rehabilitation Department is the nodal department for relief operations. The other concerned departments, namely, Agriculture, Education, Forest, Health, Inland Water Transport, Irrigation, Public Works, Public Health Engineering, Police, Information and Public Relations, Civil Supplies, Social Welfare, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, have been assigned particular roles and given particular jobs to perform at different stages.
The most important role has been assigned to the Deputy Commissioners and the Sub-divisional officers under the overall guidance and supervision of the Divisional Commissioners. They have been asked to minimize the damage to life and property by a predetermined, planned and timely approach to the problem. The factors which cause such damage have been identified as lack of preparedness, failure to give timely warning to the people of the exposed areas likely to be affected by flood, dearth of boats, inability to communicate immediately with the affected areas, inadequate coordination between departments, officials and voluntary agencies, unplanned action and time-lag in mobilising resources. The Divisional Commissioners, the Deputy Commissioners and Sub-Divisional Officers are required to take action to obviate these inadequacies and to remove the bottlenecks.
The Divisional Commissioners are specifically required to supervise, control and guide the Deputy Commissioners in relief operation, to coordinate the work of the divisional heads of the concerned departments, to maintain liaison with the Government, to arrange clearance without delay of all proposals for relief and to temporarily redeploy government employees under their jurisdiction from one district to another.
As has been already mentioned the most important role has been assigned to the Deputy Commissioner of the district. He is required to be acquainted with the history of the flood in his district, the causes and the damages due to flood in the past, the flood affected areas as identified and classified by the Water Resources Department, the average annual high flood level in each of these areas, the reports of his predecessors, the difficulties encountered by them and steps devised to overcome these difficulties.
In preparing for the flood season, a Deputy Commissioner has to remember two cardinal principles: to ensure that action at any level does not create a sense of panic among the people and to see that the people have confidence that the administration is prepared to deal with any contingency arising out of flood.
Even before the flood season, the Deputy Commissioner is required to call a meeting of the Relief Committee each year. In this meeting matters concerning identification of relief camps, formation of relief parties, association of voluntary agencies, plans for test relief work, facilities to be provided in the vulnerable areas and the adequacy of preparation for meeting the challenge of floods are discussed and schemes drawn up accordingly.
By the end of April each year, the Deputy Commissioner has to divide his district into compact zones, select responsible officers to head the relief teams, identify sites for evacuation centres, estimate the requirement of commodities such as rice, wheat, flour, cloth, edible oil, salt, kerosene, gur, pulses, potatoes, baby food, wheat bran, etc. and ask the Civil Supplies Department to stock sufficient quantities of these commodities. He has to arrange animal feed, ensure supply of petrol, oil, lubricants, draw up lists of vehicles and boats available and take all other precautionary measures.
The Deputy Commissioner has to undertake joint tours along with the Executive Engineer, Water Resources Department and the Superintendent of Police by the beginning of May each year to see that all embankments, nullahs and other flood protection works are intact and are in good repair so that no breaches or fissures can take place.
From the middle of May the Deputy Commissioner has to set up the Control Room in the district headquarters. The Control Room has to receive all informations and apprise the Deputy Commissioner and others concerned about the happenings from time to time. On receipt of flood warning the Deputy Commissioner has to take all precautionary measures including, in extreme cases, even evacuation. He has to remember that while “every high flood may not necessitate evacuation” and while “a great deal will depend on the intensity of the flood”, “if the flood is fast approaching in the very vulnerable villages there should be no delay in shifting the villagers to the evacuation centres earmarked for such villages”.9
On the occurrence of flood, the Deputy Commissioner has to visit the places, ascertain the nature and the extent of flood, make prompt operational decisions, arrange for coordinated aid by the concerned organizations/parties/officials including voluntary organizations and secure assistance from the Army when the situation so warrants.
Immediately on the occurrence of flood the Deputy Commissioner has to depute the Relief parties to the affected areas. These parties are put under the leadership of an Assam Civil Service Officer and consist of a General Relief Team, an Evacuation Relief Team, a Medical Relief Team and a Voluntary Relief Team. The number and types of personnel, boats, vehicles, equipments, medicines, food, fodder, etc. to be carried by these parties are all laid down in detail.
The immediate relief to be provided in cash and kind is in the shape of gratuitous relief which include medical aid and care of the animals. The scales are laid down and are quite liberal. Then the rehabilitation grants for reconstruction of houses, taking up of agricultural activities and also the loans and subsidy for purchase of plough bullocks are to be distributed. Where crops have been badly damaged, test relief works have to be undertaken to provide purchasing power to the affected people. Now a days, such relief works are taken up under various rural development programmes and employment schemes. Construction of houses are undertaken through the Indira Awas Yojana.
The duties assigned to the Deputy Commissioner in the Sadar Subdivision have to be performed by the Sub-Divisional Officers in the outlaying Subdivisions. The officers of the other concerned departments have to lend their services and cooperation to the Deputy Commissioner or the sub-Divisional-Officer and perform the duties as laid down in detail for them in the Assam Relief Manual.
Certain basic issues arising out of management of flood in Assam need elaboration. The foremost issue is that of prevention or at least minimization of the occurrence of flood in Assam. However, the Brahmaputra is so huge and its control by the traditional method of damming is such a gigantic task that it will require very detailed study and enormous capital investment. International cooperation between China, India and Bangladesh will be a prerequisite for such a venture. Even this will take some time and not much can be expected probably in the near future.
Long years of representations, agitations and protests ultimately persuaded GoI to set up the Brahmaputra Board in January, 1982 under the Act passed in 1980. The Board’s studies and surveys led to the proposal for building a 269 metres high dam on the Brahmaputra’s main tributary, Siang, at a cost of Rs.20000 crores at 1984 prices including a huge hydropower station with a capacity of 20000 MW at 60 percent load factor (LF). Simultaneously, a 240 metres high dam was to be built on the Subansiri river, the second largest tributary, at a cost of Rs.6800 crores at 1984 prices including a hydro-power station of 6000 MW capacity at 60 percent LF.
Both these gigantic structures were proposed to be built in the highly seismic zone of the lower Himalayas leading to further denudation of virgin forests and submergence of quite a few villages which, although sparsely populated by average Indian standards, are politically sensitive for Arunachal Pradesh. Vehement opposition from the people and the Government of that state resulted in the abandonment of this project idea.
After protracted negotiations with the Arunachal Pradesh Government the Board has now come up with an entirely new proposal. This envisages a series of three consecutive dams on the Siang river with heights of 257 metres, 154 metres and 65 metres and hydro-power stations of 1200 MW, 420 MW and 6400 MW at 60 percent LF, respectively, to be built at a cost of Rs.23444 crores at 1997 prices. Similarly, there would be a series of three dams on the Subansiri river with heights of 213 metres, 116 metres and 226 metres and hydro-power stations of 1680 MW, 1500 MW and 1200 MW at 60 percent LF, respectively, at a cost of Rs.12500 crores at 1997 prices. It is reported that the Arunachal Government have agreed to this proposal because compared to the earlier one there would be much less submergence of their area. They have been also attracted by the possibility of earning enormous revenues from the energy to be evacuated by extra high tension transmission lines of 750 KV upto Uttar Pradesh, and probably Delhi too. This, however, seems to ignore the environmental degradations that would be caused all along the lower Himalayas and the hazards that would be paused for human and animal habitations. Meanwhile five hydro-electric power stations are proposed on the Siang river totalling 4,800 MW and costing Rs.25,000 crores according to media reports. But these will need very detailed and further study with reference to the seismic situation.10
One method to minimize the damage due to flood will be to change the cropping pattern in such a way as to avoid the flood season. It has been suggested that “the appropriate cropping strategy would be to raise early Ahu paddy from February to June followed by late transplanted Sali paddy from September to December”. This recommendation has been made in the Report of the National Commission on Flood in 1980. The National Committee on the Development of Backward Areas in their Report on Development of Chronically Flood Affected Areas, submitted in November, 1981, recommended that “steps should be taken to popularize an irrigated cropping programme of early Ahu paddy and of Jute, in the pre-flood season, followed by late Sali paddy or Rabi wheat, mustard or pulses in the post-flood season”. The State Agriculture Department has achieved some success in their attempt to implement this recommendation with the cooperation of the Irrigation Department and the Assam Agriculture University.11
A large number of other measures have also been recommended for minimizing the damages due to flood. These include sifting of villages in higher areas, avoidance of road construction interfering with the traditional water courses, construction of pucca houses, soil conservation and afforestation measures and watershed management.
The quantum of relief has also become a live issue. While many people feel that the relief given is not adequate, there are others who feel that some organizations, particularly political organizations, encourage people to continue to remain in relief camps long after the flood water has receded. Neither penury nor beggary should be encouraged. But the humanitarian aspect of the problem and the urgent requirements of the people in misery should not be lost sight of. Moreover, in certain areas of Assam, people have to live in the riverine tracts, including the chars (small river islands), in order to eke out a living based on fishery and crops such as oilseeds and pulses. What is necessary is to draw up balanced schemes for relief so that immediate human suffering is alleviated.12
The quality of relief has created problems quite often. The food and the clothing doled out need to be in consonnence with the socio-cultural ethos of the people. Western food and clothing often create problems. Then there are instances in which post-disaster changes in life style bring about social tension and economic distortions as happened in post tsunami district of Nicobar island where it has been reported that “changing lifestyle preferences have started casting their shadow on traditional political structure of society”. It is apprehended that in the aftermath of such relief operation “the administration will find itself saddled with a dejected population with little faith in the system”. This has been reported in the Hindu on March 12, 2006 in an article by V.K. Porwal, Deputy Commissioner of Nicobar.
The experience of years of flood relief in Assam came in handy when riots and arson in the wake of the General Elections in February, 1983 left a trail of death and misery. In no time the administration veered around to meet the challenge of this totally unexpected holocaust. Immediately 250 relief camps were set up in 8 districts to accommodate 3,10,732 affected people. They were provided with gratuitous relief and also test relief. Later, they were properly rehabilitated in their own villages. This operation cost the exchequer Rs.49.71 crores immediately. The ultimate cost was Rs.67.75 crores. This massive operation has proved that the Assam Administration’s response to disasters is not only positive but also reasonably adequate.13
During the 1971 War for liberation of Bangladesh, more than a crore of refugees from Bangladesh came to Assam. These people were kept in huge camping areas in the Bangladesh border. Some of them returned to Bangladesh. But quite a substantial number remained back in Assam. The Assam Administration faced the challenges of this momentous event quite boldly.14
However, the response would have been professional had proper training been imparted beside codification of the measures for rescue, relief and rehabilitation. In Tamilnadu training takes the shapes of simulated exercises in which senior officers including collectors participate. Similar exercise and training courses need to be organized in a disaster prone state like Assam.
Assam is prone to other disasters also – both natural and man made – such as cyclones, fires, riots and ethnic killings. But the most important preparation should be for the recurrent earthquakes. According to the Vulnerability Atlas of India in the Arunachal-Assam “very high damage risk” seismic zone 350 known earthquakes of more than 5 on the reichter scale and 15 of more than 7 on the reichter scale have been reported beside the two largest earthquakes in the world. The first of these in the Shillong-Guwahati area took place on June 12, 1897 and measured 8.7 on the reichter scale.15 The second one hit Upper Assam-Arunachal border on August 15, 1950 and weighed 8.6 on the reichter scale. Great damages can be wrought by such big earthquakes.16
The management of situations arising out of such disasters will vary from one disaster to another. But relief and rehabilitation problems are more or less the same. One lacuna in relief operation in Assam is the dearth of genuine Non Government Voluntary Organizations (NGOs) which could look after the special needs and the psychological rehabilitation of the victims. There are a number of needs including special medical treatment, diet and care which cannot be provided by the administration. Similar is the case with the old people without support and the unfortunate orphans. In such cases only properly organized and dedicated social workers can fill in the gap. An attempt in this direction has been the SOS villages for orphans opened after the February, 1983 riots to accommodate 313 victims.
As far as floods and erosion are concerned, GoA had commissioned a “Feasibility Report on Assam Integrated Flood Management and Erosion Mitigation Project” which has come out with voluminous recommendations in February, 2006 covering all aspects of these two problems. It has suggested a large number of further intensive studies and preparation of projects for structural and other measures. Describing the Report as “a milestone in stabilizing and accelerating the state’s economic growth” it has concluded that “the investments in flood management works would improve agricultural productivity and overall economic status of the state”. According to the Report “the project will contribute to invigoration of actually depressed agricultural production activities, enhancement of the quality of life among rural people and giving an impetus for improvement of local government bodies’ services to local community. The implementation of the Project may be seen and justified from national socio-economic as well as poverty reduction point of view accordingly”.
GoI have recently restructured its entire disaster management strategy. Beside a Cabinet Committee, the Prime Minister is now chairing the National Disaster Management Authority with a full time high ranking Vice Chairman and appropriate staff. A National Institute of Disaster Management has been set up to co-ordinate all research and other work in this connection. The Administrative Reforms Commission has also been asked to suggest “ways to (a) quicken the emergency responses of administration, and (b) increase the effectiveness of the machinery to meet the crisis situation and enhance crisis preparedness”. These are important measures. It is encouraging that GoI are paying serious attention to this problem.
To sum up what is needed is an integrated and systematic approach to disaster management. All types of adhocism should be scrupulously avoided. Once that has been done, impoverishment of the poor people will diminish and the state’s economy will be able to take giant strides towards progress. One of the gains will be that the insurgent units will not find many fresh recruits.17
1. The loss due to disasters are estimated by the Government of Assam (GoA) every year. Sometimes such estimates are made several times during the year when floods occur more than once. The economic losses are stupendous. I have written a number of articles on this subject during the past four decades. I have seen damages due to flood in other states also specially when I was deputed on Central Teams to assess flood damage while working as a Director in the Plan Finance Division of the Ministry of Finance in the Government of India (GoI). In Assam the damages are much more.
2. Das, H.N. “Economic Consequences of Insurgency in Assam”. The Indian Police Journal. Vol. L. No.1. January-March, 2003.
3. See reply of the Union Minister of State for Water Resources to two Assam MPs in the Lok Sabha as published in the front page of the issue of the Assam Tribune dated February 21, 2006.
4. See codification of the non-structural measures in “the Assam Relief Manual, June, 1976”, as amended from time to time, by GoA. Guidance is also available from the Asian Development Bank, Manila, which has published two companion volumes on “Disaster Management” (by W. Nick Carter, 1991) and “Disaster Mitigation” (1991). Asian Development Bank. Information Office. Manila. In Oxfam’s publication entitled “India Disasters Report. Towards A Policy Initiative” I have written the chapter on “Financing Disaster Response”. [Oxford University Press. New York and New Delhi. 2000]
5. Taking advantage of the UN’s International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, 50 scientists from US, Canada and Mexico worked for 3 years and mapped the disaster prone areas of North America which show “the reach of natural hazards across national borders” and promote “awareness of vulnerability”. The lesson drawn is that “such awareness may help lessen tragic consequences when natural disasters strike”. [National Geographic. July, 1998. Washington D.C. USA.] The time has come for preparation of such high standard maps for India and specially for Assam.
6. “The Bengal Famine Code” was published in 1913. It used to be available from the Bengal Secretariat Book Depot, Calcutta. I was given a copy (a reprint) by the Asian Institute of Technology, Disaster Preparedness Centre, Bangkok of which I was a guest lecturer for some time.
7. Treasury Rules of the Government of Assam. GoA. Guwahati.
8. Das, H.N. “Agency for Relief Operations – A Case Study” published in “Management in Government”, the journal of the Department of Administrative Reform, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Vol. III – No.2. July-September, 1971. New Delhi.
9. “The Assam Relief Manual, 1976”. GoA. Guwahati.
10. See the “Vulnerability Atlas of India” prepared by the Ministry of Urban Affairs & Employment, GoI, 1997. This gives details of the seismic situation in different zones of India. The North Eastern zone is the most vulnerable.
11. The Reports referred to are available as GoI publications with the same nomenclature.
12. The Central teams deputed for flood damage assessment of different states always keep these principles in mind.
13. No detailed paper has been written as yet on this holocaust. The information in this paper has been obtained from GoA.
14. There are no published documents available on this subject. Only GoA records have been relied upon.
15. Oldham, R.D. “Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India”. Vol. XXIX. “Report on the Great Earthquake of 12 June, 1897”. Published by the Government of India. Calcutta. 1899.
16. Das, H.N. “Build a Dam and be Damned”. Economic Times. November 29, 1998.
17. Das, H.N. “New Initiative for the North East. Reclaiming a Lost World”. Indian Express May 11, 1998.