GUWAHATI, Dec 20 � The Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi today expressed the view that it would be difficult to find permanent solution to the problems of flood and erosion till the same are declared as national problems and funds for it are provided by the Central Government.
Interfering during a discussion on the problem of flood during the Zero Hour in the State Assembly, the Speaker said that the river Brahmaputra can be controlled when flood is considered as a national problem.
Earlier, replying to a Zero Hour question by Anjan Dutta and Member Gogoi of the Congress, the Minister of State for Water Resources, Rajiv Lochan Pegu said that long term planning is required to control the Brahmaputra. He advocated the need for early creation of the North East Water Resources Authority for proper study of the rivers flowing through the North East States. He also admitted that it would not be possible for the State Government to deal with the problem of floods without Central funds.
The Minister said that the Water Resources Department is facing a major problem in dealing with erosion as according to the guidelines for the utilization of the calamity relief fund, money from it cannot be utilized to control erosion. The State Government has already taken up the matter with the Centre with a request to amend the guidelines.
Pegu said that deforestation in the neighbouring states resulted in heavy silt deposition on the river beds and reduced the water carrying capacity of the rivers, which also aggravated the problems of flood and erosion, while, construction of bridges also affected the normal discharge of the rivers.
Rehabilitation: The State Assembly today witnessed a war of words between the legislators of the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) over the issue of rehabilitation of the people affected by flood and erosion as well as by ethnic violence.
The members of the AIUDF today alleged that the Government failed to rehabilitate those affected and said that the displaced people are being harassed. They also rose to their feet and demanded that all the displaced people should be given citizenship certificates so that they are not harassed by anyone in the name of identifying foreigners. This resulted in a war of words between the AIUDF and Congress legislators, forcing the Speaker to intervene and comment that no one should try to give any �colour� to such an issue and it is the responsibility of all the members of the House to give protection to genuine Indian citizens.
Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain assured the House that the Government would give protection to all genuine Indian citizens.
Earlier, replying to a question by Abdur Rahim Khan of the AIUDF, the Minister in charge of Revenue, relief and Rehabilitation, Prithibi Majhi said that according to information available, 37906 families have been displaced due to flood and erosion and ethnic clashes in different parts of the state.
However, the members of the House alleged that the figure provided by the Minister was not correct. Bhupen Bora (Cong) said that the flood affected people of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji have not yet been rehabilitated and demanded a special package for their rehabilitation.