Assam Floods
Villagers cross a flooded road at Lachi Bishnupur village in Assam September 22, 2012Reuters

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has earned the wrath of people by touring abroad, while major portion of his state is flooded due to the overflowing of the Brahmaputra river.

Several parts of the state had been submerged in floods for the last couple of weeks, killing at least 18 people, destroying standing crops, damaging roads and structures, and affecting more than 1.7 million people in 16 out of the 27 districts.

CM Tarun Gogoi left for Japan amidst the floods in Assam on Sept 21 for a six-day study tour as a member of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers to study Goods and Services Tax (GST). The Indian delegation is led by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and GST Chairman Sushil Kumar Modi.

Former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta had earlier criticized the CM for visiting Japan when the people of his state are suffering and demanded for relief measures to be taken immediately.

Gogoi, who is expected to return from Japan on Wednesday, had directed the officials to take up rescue operations in the flood-affected areas by using mechanised boats and helicopters.

Khagen Deka, executive engineer of Assam's state water board, said that the water level in Brahmaputra has crossed the danger mark but later subsided.

"Brahmaputra in Guwahati is currently at 50.65 meters, which is above the danger mark. In Dibrugarh, it has reduced in the last few hours. Hopefully, the situation will improve," Times of India quoted Deka as saying.

"The situation has become steady now and we hope the situation will start improving in a day or two. The predictions of Central Water Commission (CWC) as well as the meteorological department indicated an improvement in weather soon," State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) CEO Atul Chaturvedi told IANS.

Majuli, Asia's largest freshwater river island and the centre of Vaishnavite culture, is reported to be the worst affected with 70 percent of its land under water. Agriculture minister Nilamani Sen Deka said that efforts are being made to evacuate people who are taking shelter on higher grounds due to the floods.

Relief operations have been taken up by the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, the IAF and the Indian Army. The IAF choppers are being used to drop relief materials such as food to people in Majuli as they can't land on the island.