KAZIRANGA, Dec 30 - Flood-erosion control and skill development will be the main areas of emphasis in the State and the Brahmaputra Board has been initiating measures to address these issues, stated Union Minister for Road Transport, Shipping and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari after a review meeting of the Brahmaputra Board at a resort in Kaziranga today.
Addressing mediapersons, Gadkari said the Brahmaputra dredging work would be started from January while the dredging work in the Barak river would be completed by July next.
Gadkari informed that the Brahmaputra Board had been asked to initiate measures to carry out massive plantation drives on both sides of the Brahmaputra to check erosion.
He said a �Mathematical model on the Brahmaputra� initiated by the Board is also in the pipeline, which will be applied while controlling flood and erosion and also taking up the dredging work.
Gadkari stated that eight different river terminals at Bogibeel, Neamati, Kamalabari, Silghat, Jogighopa, Dhubri, Silchar and Pandu will be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,100 crore.
For development of river transport, inland waterways will be improved in a more professional way to ensure better ferry services and hover crafts on the Brahmaputra. For this, a special skill development programme will be initiated with the support of the Union government to train up local unemployed youths so that the same can be recruited and rehabilitated in the sectors of water transportation and other hospitality services, the Union Minister added.
A subject on inland waterways will also be incorporated in the skill development training at the cost of Rs 10 crore, he said.
Gadkari also said that 33 special driving-cum-testing centres, having advanced computerised technology systems, will be opened for training the local youths, as the driving sector remains one of the biggest employment avenues.
He said a discussion process is also under way with Bangladesh to deal with river route systems touching parts that country, so that goods and other raw materials could be transported through these routes. This will be cost-effective as prices of edible oil and sugar, etc, will come down by one to two rupees at the market, said Gadkari, adding the IIT Guwahati had been asked to remain associated for addressing the issues.
When asked by this correspondent about the heavy siltation in the Brahmaputra, Gadkari said IIT Guwahati had been asked to carry out research work on silt to find possible presence of silicon, which is of great use. The Minister said 100 acre areas have been considered at Jogighopa for starting a logistic park to generate more employment and Rs 1,200 crore has been earmarked for the purpose. Emphasis would be laid on the production of bio-ethanol from rice husks, he said, adding this would be a cost-effective fuel.
With regard to construction of the four-lane in Kaziranga, an alternative option is being explored in order to have flyover and under-passes on the animal corridors.