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Britishers used to dredge Brahmaputra to check floods

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, Jan 28 - �Dredging of the Brahmaputra or its tributaries is not a new idea. The Britishers used to do it as protection from the perennial floods. There are historical records to substantiate this assertion,� said noted offshore oil exploration engineer PK Dutta, who is studying the subject for the past several years. Dutta has also prepared a plan to dredge the Brahmaputra from Sadiya to Dhubri to save the State from the recurring floods.

Dutta has already submitted an ambitious plan to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that aims to scour the Brahmaputra and restrict it to within a two-kilometre-wide course and to use the dredged out silt to reclaim the land lost to erosion and to construct two highways along the banks of the river.

Referring to the autobiography of noted freedom fighter and former MLA late Dhaniram Talukdar (May 2, 1888, January 24, 1971), he said that the earthquake that rocked the then Province of Assam on June 12, 1897 with a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter Scale, resulted in heavy floods consecutively in 1897, 1898 and 1899 in many parts of lower Assam. The Britishers then took recourse to dredging the Brahmaputra and some of its tributaries, Dutta said.

He also referred to the statement made by Tapir Gao, who represented Arunachal East Constituency in the Lok Sabha in 2007. Gao had said in the Lok Sabha on August 20, 2007 during a discussion on the situation arising out of floods, that the Britishers used to dredge the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.

Gao had said that day: �Now, I would like to stress one point with the Government of India. Now, sedimentation takes place during flood and it spreads to Assam. Why can the Government of India not use dredging of the river course in the winter season so that the over-flooded water may not spread to the plains in Assam? This is a very important scientific way. During the British days, this dredging of river course had taken place in the northeastern parts of the country...

�Hon Chairman, Sir, every year this House discusses about the flood situation in the country. But whatever Mistryji has said during the past 25 minutes, we are discussing only about emergencies where we are talking only about relief. But, here, I would like to draw the attention of the Government of India that this is an issue where every year we are losing our national properties, human lives, livestock and what not. Why are we not taking up remedies to solve this problem and not to face the consequences every year?� Gao said.

Dutta said that the idea of dredging the Brahmaputra is treated by certain quarters here as an unfeasible one. These circles also claim that suitable dredgers are not available to remove the silt from the bed of the mighty river... �Suitable dredgers to overcome this problem are available in several parts of the globe. If there is will, there is a way,� he said. �Such dredgers, now available even in China and the Netherlands, could also be built in the country under the Make in India programme,� said the exploration engineer, who was involved in offshore dredging works for decades.

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Britishers used to dredge Brahmaputra to check floods

GUWAHATI, Jan 28 - �Dredging of the Brahmaputra or its tributaries is not a new idea. The Britishers used to do it as protection from the perennial floods. There are historical records to substantiate this assertion,� said noted offshore oil exploration engineer PK Dutta, who is studying the subject for the past several years. Dutta has also prepared a plan to dredge the Brahmaputra from Sadiya to Dhubri to save the State from the recurring floods.

Dutta has already submitted an ambitious plan to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that aims to scour the Brahmaputra and restrict it to within a two-kilometre-wide course and to use the dredged out silt to reclaim the land lost to erosion and to construct two highways along the banks of the river.

Referring to the autobiography of noted freedom fighter and former MLA late Dhaniram Talukdar (May 2, 1888, January 24, 1971), he said that the earthquake that rocked the then Province of Assam on June 12, 1897 with a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter Scale, resulted in heavy floods consecutively in 1897, 1898 and 1899 in many parts of lower Assam. The Britishers then took recourse to dredging the Brahmaputra and some of its tributaries, Dutta said.

He also referred to the statement made by Tapir Gao, who represented Arunachal East Constituency in the Lok Sabha in 2007. Gao had said in the Lok Sabha on August 20, 2007 during a discussion on the situation arising out of floods, that the Britishers used to dredge the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.

Gao had said that day: �Now, I would like to stress one point with the Government of India. Now, sedimentation takes place during flood and it spreads to Assam. Why can the Government of India not use dredging of the river course in the winter season so that the over-flooded water may not spread to the plains in Assam? This is a very important scientific way. During the British days, this dredging of river course had taken place in the northeastern parts of the country...

�Hon Chairman, Sir, every year this House discusses about the flood situation in the country. But whatever Mistryji has said during the past 25 minutes, we are discussing only about emergencies where we are talking only about relief. But, here, I would like to draw the attention of the Government of India that this is an issue where every year we are losing our national properties, human lives, livestock and what not. Why are we not taking up remedies to solve this problem and not to face the consequences every year?� Gao said.

Dutta said that the idea of dredging the Brahmaputra is treated by certain quarters here as an unfeasible one. These circles also claim that suitable dredgers are not available to remove the silt from the bed of the mighty river... �Suitable dredgers to overcome this problem are available in several parts of the globe. If there is will, there is a way,� he said. �Such dredgers, now available even in China and the Netherlands, could also be built in the country under the Make in India programme,� said the exploration engineer, who was involved in offshore dredging works for decades.