Central Government Must Declare North Indian Region Floods as National Calamity

The incessant rain in the North Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi has led to massive flooding and landslides. According to reports more than 100 people have lost their lives in the extreme rainfall that battered the region continuously for four days. Many houses have been destroyed in the landslides and several incidents of roads and bridges washed away have been reported. Thousands have been left homeless due to the disaster.

Amid the red alert for heavy rainfall and with most of the rivers breaching their danger level, the CPIML has called upon the Central government to declare a national calamity and provide necessary assistance, including a relief package to deal with the crisis. In the National Capital, the water level in Yamuna River has crossed the 1978 high flood level on Wednesday inundating several slum areas. The government apathy towards working class and poor colonies and slums has aggravated the threat of severe floods and outbreak of waterborne diseases

Once again the disaster has shed light on the unregulated constructions of roads and hydro power projects that has exacerbated the tragedy. CPIML has said that the governments of the hill states, despite warning by experts, continued the corporate led exploitation and unregulated constructions. These human interventions are stripping the mountains of their existential conditions and stability and rendering its inhabitants homeless and jobless. Joshimath is a classic example of this tragedy where many such projects are currently being executed. In spite of the huge environmental cost and associated human tragedy, the government is paying scant attention to ascertain the local geographical and geological conditions as well as human safety before executing the projects. According to recent reports, the recent heavy rains have further destabilised Joshimath with several cases of new cracks being reported.

Amid the ongoing crisis, CPIML has reiterated its demand that the state and central governments must ensure no environmentally disastrous projects are forced upon the people and landscape in the name of development.