Dredging of Brahmaputra to start soon to solve flood problem

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HT Correspondent

New Delhi, Aug 17: The dredging of the Brahmaputra river will start soon as a move to find a permanent solution to the perennial flood problem in Assam. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting, chaired by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and attended by with secretaries, joint secretaries, DGs of various concerned ministries at Assam Bhawan in New Delhi on Thursday.

“It has been decided to start the dredging of the Brahmaputra from Sadiya from September onwards and as many as five dredgers will be pressed into service for the mega project,” a state government statement said.

In the meeting it has been decided to start the dredging of the Brahmaputra from Sadiya from September onwards and as many as five dredgers will be pressed into service for the mega project. The meeting took up the construction of Brahmaputra Expressway threadbare and decided to rope in experts and manpower of Border Roads Organisation to build the expressway with the sand and silt dug out through dredging. The Government of Assam will submit the detailed project report for Brahmaputra Expressway soon.

Sonowal requested the Brahmaputra Board to set up a unit in Majuli and upscale its manpower to tackle flood in the island as well as in the state. In the meeting the director general of Brahmaputra Board informed that the board decided to start three major projects upstream to protect the river island Majuli from the fury of flood. He also informed that a Rs. 237 crore road cum embankment project would soon be started in the southern bank of Majuli which would act as a deterrent against flood induced damages in the river island.

Sonowal also asked NHIDCL to take up the repairing work of the national highways in view of the deplorable road conditions. He said that repairing of the national highways must be accorded topmost priority to make the flow of traffic smooth. In this regard, the chief minister asked NHIDCL to engage quality contractors and retired engineers to complete the repairing work on time. The NHIDCL authority assured the chief minister that works would start after the flood water recedes.

The chief minister asked the ministry of DoNER, the ministry of water resources and the Brahmaputra Board to play a proactive role in taming the Brahmaputra by finding short, medium and long term measures. Following his plea, it was decided to hold a national level conference in Guwahati sometime in September to find out a comprehensive solution to flood and erosion problems in Assam in particular and the Northeast in general. In the conference international, national and local experts would assemble and participate in brainstorming sessions aimed at finding a comprehensive solution to flood and erosion. In this regard, the chief minister pointed out the central government’s assistance of Rs 100 crore for a study towards finding time-bound long term solutions to recurrent floods in the region and thanked the Prime Minister in this regard.

The meeting discussed threadbare about the construction of road cum embankments covering 5,000 km to protect the people from floods and to improve connectivity. The chief minister pointed out that a proposal has been already submitted to the Prime Minister for launching of Prime Minister’s Special Flood and Erosion Programme.

The chief minister urged the ministry of civil aviation to start more number of flights from Guwahati to Dibrugarh, completion of the terminal building at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, among others.

Chief secretary VK Pipersenia; principal secretary, finance, Dr. Ravi Kota; resident commissioner, Rwitticka Kalita; MP Pradhan Baruah and MLA Bolin Chetia represented Assam, while secretary, ministry of water resources, Dr. Amarjeet Singh; secretary, ministry of DoNER, Naveen Verma; director general, Border Roads, Lt. Gen. SK Srivastav; director general, ministry of civil aviation, BS Bhullar; joint secretary, ministry of finance (department of expenditure), Rajeev Ranjan; joint secretary, ministry of water resources and chairman of Brahmaputra Board, Sanjay Kundu; director (NE), NITI Aayog, Sanjay Kumar; chief engineer, NHIDCL, DK Rajawat; secretary, Inland Water Authority of India (IWAI), Satish Shukla and member, NDMA, RK Jain represented the Government of India.

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