GUWAHATI, Sept 4 - Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta today informed the Assembly that dredging work for developing the Brahmaputra as the National Waterway II would start within next two months. The State government has already procured two dredgers for the purpose and another two are on the way.
Responding to a call attention motion by Congress MLA Ajanta Neog on the dredging of the river Brahmaputra, the minister said that another round of dredging would start in all the tributaries of the Brahmaputra for which the State government would soon purchase five small dredgers.
While stressing the need of a thorough study of the entire river system of the State before planning a huge project, Neog said that expert opinion and public debate are required on the dredging work to alleviate the doubts in the minds of people. She further questioned the status of DPR
(detailed project report) preparation for dredging works.
In his reply, Mahanta said that the dredging to be started by October-November this year was for the purpose of making the National Waterway II functional by ensuring the plying of vessels from Sadiya to Dhubri. �Along with the Union Transport Ministry, the Water Authority of India and the State government�s transport department are also involved in the project,� he said.
�For the Express Highway project, a survey in the 16 sections of the Brahmaputra river has been done and the DPR will be prepared soon. We will go for a global tendering for the project and since the Union government will be bearing the cost, it would, in all probability, be a national project,� he further added.
Adding to it, Patowary said that the Government of India has also taken up the issue of dredging the part of the Brahmaputra river that falls in Bangladesh.
�Removing the silt and sediment from the entire river up to the Bay of Bengal can only solve the issue of siltation. For that, the Government of India is giving Rs 250 crore to Bangladesh to carry out dredging in their part of the river. The Bangladesh government would also contribute 10 per cent of the project cost,� he said.
Patowary further added that to implement the National Waterway II project, dredging would also be done in 11 tributaries of the Brahmaputra as part of the project.
On other points raised by Neog, Mahanta said that all the departments concerned have been pressed into action by the Chief Minister to rehabilitated the flood affected people by October 2 and also to compensate them for their losses.