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Floods Bring Minister to Assam

Posted on September 15, 2016

By Avik Chakraborty, The Telegraph

Union minister of state for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation Sanjeev Kumar Balyan today assured Dispur that the Centre will not spare any effort to find a permanent solution to the flood and erosion problems of the state.

Balyan, who arrived here this afternoon on a two-day visit to the state to assess the damage caused by floods, met chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal at the Arunachal circuit house at Mohanbari near Dibrugarh airport.

During the meeting, Balyan assured the chief minister that all possible steps would be taken to find an effective and speedy solution to the flood and erosion problem in the state. Assam water resources minister Keshab Mahanta, Dibrugarh MP Rameswar Teli, Moran MLA Chakradhar Gogoi, Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan, Lahowal MLA Rituparna Baruah and Duliajan MLA Terash Gowala were also present at the meeting.

Sonowal told Balyan about a World Bank expert committee report on the Brahmaputra where the flow and current of the river was termed as very sharp and uncontrollable. He emphasised the use of modern technology to tame the Brahmaputra and to minimise the damage it caused in the state.

The chief minister also requested financial aid from the Centre, along with other assistance, to save the state from the recurring flood and erosion problems. He also drew the minister’s attention to the heavy siltation on the river bed that has substantially reduced the water-bearing capacity of the Brahmaputra.

Sonowal said the Brahmaputra and its tributaries will have to be controlled, as China did with the Hwang Ho. He also informed the Union minister that the state government had urged the Dredging Corporation of India Ltd to carry out dredging in the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.

Sonowal believed that comprehensive dredging of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries would also facilitate inland water transport in the state.

Balyan said the Centre accorded top importance to the flood and erosion problems of the state. He said the Centre’s sincerity towards solving the flood and erosion problem had become evident when Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to visit the erosion-hit areas of the state and assess the damage caused by floods.

Balyan also visited the erosion-affected Rohmoria in Dibrugarh district and attended a public meeting at Gorpora. The people of Rohmoria requested the minister to control the erosion at Bogoritolia. This year, Bogoritolia has lost five square km of agricultural land to erosion.

“Our government will release Rs 78.48 crore to take up erosion control measures on a 6.4km-stretch at Rohmoria,” the Union minister said. This is his first visit to the state to assess the damage caused by this year’s floods.

More than 35 lakh people were affected by four waves of floods in 30 of 35 districts in the state since April this year. Altogether 35 humans and over 300 animals lost their lives in the floods.

The chief adviser to the Erosion Resistance Struggle Forum, an NGO, Binod Kedia, submitted a memorandum to Balyan, requesting him to find a lasting solution to the flood and erosion problems.

The minister will visit the erosion-affected areas of Majuli island before flying back to New Delhi tomorrow.

Majuli, the seat of Vaishnavite culture that was made a separate district recently, is Sonowal’s Assembly constituency. Erosion has shrunk Majuli’s area from 1,245.12 square km in 1950 to 480 square km at present.

Source: The Telegraph

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