GUWAHATI, Dec 2 - The Brahmaputra dredging project is now sought to be developed into an integrated project. This integrated project will have the components of dredging, development of inland water transport, express highways along the banks of the river, conversion of its embankments into roads, etc.
Apprising this, highly placed official sources here told this correspondent that this project will also have the components like development of irrigation, power and anti-erosion projects in it. However, this integrated project would be implemented only in the Assam part of the river.
Sources, however, made it clear that the ongoing process of dredging the Brahmaputra river bed to facilitate inland water transport in Assam would not be hampered by the above decision to expand the dredging project.
This decision to broaden the scope of the initial project proposed for dredging the river bed and developing express highways along its banks was taken in the latest meeting held by the Union Water Resources and Surface Communication Minister Nitin Gadkari at his office chamber. The Government of India-run WAPCOS Ltd will prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for this project.
Following the insistence of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union Government agreed to bear the necessary expenses for preparing the DPR and also to bear the expenses for its implementation, sources said.
The meeting was attended by the Water Resources Minister and the PWD Minister of the State, besides the Chief Minister and senior officials from both the Central and the State governments.
Following the above decision, senior officials from the WAPCOS held a discussion with the Chief Secretary of the State in this connection sometime back.
It needs mention here that in early April this year, Union Minister Gadkari announced that the Union Government will develop a 1,300-km long express highway along the banks of the Brahmaputra at an investment of Rs 40,000 crore.
The Union Minister also announced simultaneously that the Centre will also dredge the Brahmaputra from Sadiya in Assam to Chittagong port in Bangladesh. Necessary formalities were completed with the Bangladesh government for the purpose, he said.