NEW DELHI, May 24 � Even as threat of flood and erosion looms large over Majuli island, Brahmaputra Board�s allocation has been slashed because of non-receipt of techno-economic clearance of �Protection of Majuli Island from Flood and Erosion Scheme.�
The allocation of Brahmaputra Board was reduced to Rs 73.49 crore from Rs 80 crore, due to non-receipt of techno-economic clearance of the revised estimate for the Scheme � Protection of Majuli Island from flood and erosion Phase II and III,� officials of the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) told a Parliamentary Panel.
The vital Project aimed at protecting 22 sattras and other public and private properties, as well as to ensure economic development and social uplift of the local population after reconstruction of roads and bridges usually destroyed during floods.
As reported, the Planning Commission had in February accorded investment clearance for the Rs 116-crore flood and erosion control project in Majuli.
The project �Protection of Majuli Island, Assam from flood and erosion, Phase II and III� was scheduled to be completed within the current fiscal year and its cost is estimated at Rs 115.99 crore.
The estimate for �Restoration of Rivers Dibang and Lohit to their original courses at Dholla Hatighuli, were also delayed, but it has since been obtained, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on MoWR was further told.
Significantly, the Parliamentary Panel, which is headed by MP Dip Gogoi noted that the Plan allocation for flood control in 2010-2011 was also slashed to Rs 225.01 crore from the earmarked Rs 250.50 crore. It was subsequently increased to Rs 238 crore the next year.
The reasons cited were late start of anti-erosion works by Brahmaputra Board and agitation against the Sapta Kosi High dam Multi-purpose Project in Nepal. The reasons put forward by the MoWR only reflect regrettable lack of foresightedness and seriousness while addressing the allocations. The Committee was disturbed to note that the plan allocation was reduced for such an important programme of national importance, remarked the Committee.
The island, with a population of around 1.6 lakh, is a major abode of Assamese Vashnavite culture and also a biodiversity hotspot.