The flood situation in Bihar and West Bengal continues to be grim as waters from the overflowing rivers in Nepal sweep south, while there has been a slight improvement in Assam.Nearly one crore people have been affected by the floods in Bihar that have claimed 119 lives so far, an official said on Friday. The Bihar disaster management department official said over 98 lakh people in 1,532 panchayats under 139 blocks in 16 districts have been hit with thousands of huts washed away, buildings and roads damaged and standing crops worth crores submerged.According to the official, 4,08,903 people have been evacuated by the Army, NDRF, SDRF and other rescue teams in the last four days. The State government has set up 1,238 relief camps housing 310,041 people in the flood-hit districts.Respite from rainThough rain has let up in West Bengal, about 400 villages in Malda district are facing massive waterlogging with the Mahananda, Fulhar and Purnarbhaba river overflowing.Speaking to The Hindu on Friday, Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said, “Malda has become our main concern now. Due to the flood waters from Nepal and Bihar, the Mahananda river is already flowing above the extreme danger level and the water level is expected to rise.” “Currently there are about 70,000 people in 116 relief shelters in the district,” district magistrate of Malda Kaushik Bhattacharya said. According to district officials at least eight lakh people have been affected. Twelve teams from two battalions of the NDRF have been deployed in Malda, Uttar and South Dinajpur districts.Assam toll risesWith 11 more deaths on Friday, the death toll in the second phase of floods in Assam has gone up to 60 since August 10 even as the authorities said there were some “signs of improvement” in the overall situation.According to a report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 25.93 lakh people were affected by the floods in the State. Morigaon was the worst-hit district with 5.29 lakh affected people, followed by Dhubri with 4.76 lakh people. As many as 2,210 villages were under water, it said.7 rhinos deadOver 140 animals including seven rhinos and two elephants have perished in the second wave of floods in Assam that inundated 80% of the the Kaziranga National Park Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rohini Ballav Saikia said here on Thursday.(With inputs from PTI & IANS) Three family members drown as bridge collapses in Bihar
The House of Representatives, on February 26, approved three Bills to remove flogging and whipping from the country’s statute books as a penalty for any offence. Bills passed were: the Larceny (Amendment) Act 2012; the Law Reform (Flogging and Whipping) (Abolition) Act, 2012; and the Obeah (Amendment) Act 2012. The practice of whipping and flogging ceased in Jamaica’s penal institutions in 1997 and since that time, the courts have not handed down sentencing with those stipulations. Opening the debate, Attorney General, Patrick Atkinson, noted that flogging and whipping are part of a legacy from the era of slavery. “Our people were subject to whipping and flogging as routine methods of imposing the slave master’s brutal and exploitative discipline,” the Attorney General said. He argued that flogging and whipping are considered to be degrading and inhumane treatment under international law. For his part, Leader of Opposition Business in the Lower House, Delroy Chuck, while supporting the Bills, noted that they will bring “some humanity” to the country’s system of government. “There can be no doubt that this should have been done long ago. I must admit that I thought these punishments had long been removed from the statute. The truth is that there is a strong sentiment in the country that the harsher the punishment, the less crime. There is no truth (to this),” Mr. Chuck said. The Bills were passed in the Senate on February 15.