In a huge embarrassment, the newly elected BJP government of Assam included a 2-year-old photo of Bangladesh’s Noakhali flood in its interim report on Assam flood to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday.
The report, handed over by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to Singh during his day-long visit to survey the flood condition in the state, comprises nine photographs. Out of this, one is the famous picture of Noakhali flood, where a young boy rescues and carries a baby deer amidst flood water.
The picture, taken by wildlife photographer Hasibul Wahab and distributed by Caters News Agency in February 2014, received global appreciation at that time. The photo showed the boy, Belal, in his 20s risking his life to rescue the baby deer with waters reaching his eyes. Senior Assam government officials owned up the mistake when pointed out but tried to shift the blame on “some” DCs who forwarded the picture to the state capital.
“It is a big mistake. We accept it. Actually some DCs have forwarded this to us because of similarity with situation in Kaziranga National Park,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity.
Another official said residents in and around Kaziranga have been rescuing animals during current wave of flood and this might have “misled” officials to include the picture.
Meanwhile Assam flood situation remained critical with three more persons perishing, taking the toll to 29 in the current deluge even as Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh made an aerial survey today of the affected areas.
The worst-affected districts are Lakhimpur, Golaghat, Bongaigaon, Jorhat, Dhemaji, Barpeta, Goalpara, Dhubri, Darrang, Morigaon and Sonitpur.
ASDMA said nearly two lakh hectares of crop area across the state are under flood waters, while a number of roads, embankments, bridges and other infrastructure were washed away.
Currently, Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger mark at Guwahati, Nematighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, Goalpara and Dhubri towns.
(With inputs from PTI)