GUWAHATI, July 31 - As many as 295 of the 423 embankments in Assam, or close to 70 per cent, have outlived their life spans, Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta informed the Assembly on Wednesday.
In a written reply, the minister said that the State has 423 embankments with a total length of 4,474.42 km. �As of now, 295 embankments have outlived their life spans,� he added. Mahanta said repair work of embankments has been taken up under both the SDRF and maintenance & repair (M&R) routes.
From 2016 till date, a total of 364.48 km length of embankments have been repaired with an expenditure of Rs 38.17 crore under M&R, while another 229.44 km length of dykes have been repaired under SDRF with an expenditure of Rs 251.51 crore.
In his written reply to another question, Mahanta said that as per figures from the agriculture department, the total crop area submerged during the ongoing flood is 163,548 hectares.
He added that 37 embankments maintained by the water resources department and another 17 dykes maintained by other departments have suffered breaches or cuts during the floods this year.
The State government has released funds for carrying out immediate repair works in embankments which have suffered breaches during the ongoing wave of flood.
In reply to another question, the minister said the government undertakes short, medium and long term measures for control of flood and erosion. He said measures like construction of embankments, sluice gates and anti-erosion works have been taken up and these have covered almost 16.50 lakh hectares of the total 31.50 lakh hectares of the State�s flood-prone areas.
Mahanta said that besides embankments, there are also 642 sluice gates in the State, in addition to 948 anti-erosion projects. He said the government has taken steps to repair embankments which have suffered losses due to flooding.
�The State government has been in contact with the Centre since past many years to find a permanent solution to the flood and erosion problem of Assam. The serving Chief Minister has also taken the matter very seriously and requested the Centre to take appropriate action,� Mahanta said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Assam in August 2017, also laid emphasis on the issue.
Following that, the Centre approved Rs 100 crore to carry out a study for finding a permanent solution to the problem.
Mahanta said the high level committee, formed under the chairmanship of the NITI Aayog vice chairman had recommended setting up of the North East Water Management Authority (NEWMA) in its draft proposal. He added that the State government had then supported the recommendation.
�It is hoped that with the establishment of the NEWMA the flood and erosion problem of Assam could be tackled and it will also facilitate in developing the water resources of the northeastern states,� the minister said.
Mahanta said that during the visit of the Union Water Resources Minister to Assam earlier this month the Chief Minister requested him to fast-track setting up of the NEWMA.