Indian minister who joined mission to rescue people stranded by floods has to be airlifted himself

An opposition politician mocks Narottam Mishra being airlifted, calls him 'Spider-Man'

Shweta Sharma
Friday 06 August 2021 11:37
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<p>Narottam Mishra, seen here, being airlifted onto an Indian Air Force helicopter</p>

Narottam Mishra, seen here, being airlifted onto an Indian Air Force helicopter

A politician from central India had to be airlifted by an army chopper after he was left stranded while on a rescue mission in a flood-ravaged district on Thursday.

Narottam Mishra, home minister of the local Madhya Pradesh state government and a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was in the state’s Datia district to survey the flood situation and help those stranded.

Mr Mishra received information that at least nine people were stranded on the rooftop of a completely submerged house, reported the Hindustan Times.

As the minister reached the spot, however, rough weather resulted in a tree falling on the boat he was on, after which the boat’s motor was rendered inoperable.

Finding himself in an unexpected situation, Mr Mishra dialed authorities. An Indian Air Force helicopter was sent soon after to rescue him and those stranded.

In a video that has gone viral on social media, Mr Mishra can be seen tied to a harness and braving strong gusts as he is airlifted.

The situation drew criticism from the state’s local opposition leaders, including those from the Congress party. One local leader mocked Mr Mishra by referring to him as the superhero “Spider-Man” and dubbed the incident a publicity stunt.

“The way our home minister tried to act like Spider-Man was dangerous for himself, the stranded people and those who had gone with him. It was only a publicity stunt that went wrong,” Congress leader Bhupendra Gupta told news channel NDTV.

The situation in Madhya Pradesh remains grim, as parts of the state have been battered by incessant rains since Sunday. At least 12 people have died and seven have been injured in rain-related incidents, officials said on Thursday.

More than 30,790 people were evacuated to safer places in Gwalior and Chambal cities, while 6,000 have been sent to 126 relief camps, state revenue secretary Gyaneshwar B Patil told news agency Press Trust of India.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan undertook an aerial survey of Sheopur, Datia, Gwalior, Guna, Bhind and Morena, the districts that have been impacted the most by the floods. At least 25 bridges have been damaged in Sheopur and Datia.

The chief minister has asked for assistance from India’s prime minister Narendra Modi and the federal home minister Amit Shah.

Mr Chouhan said the state has not seen such devastation from floods in the past 70 years. Several experts have cited such monsoon-related incidents and linked them to the climate crisis, pointing out that the crisis has likely contributed to a more volatile monsoon season.

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