GUWAHATI, June 9 � A strict control over critical data on the Brahmaputra, Barak etc., by Union Government agencies has continued to act as a hurdle for those trying to understand the rivers in order to mitigate flood and erosion.
Bodies such as the Central Water Commission are in possession of data, which are essential to prepare and implement any major management plan with long-term goals. However, experience of various stakeholders, especially non-government organisations and researchers, indicates that there is a clear unwillingness to share data.
At times the data are provided, but with the caveat that these cannot be published and put in the public domain. Gaps in important data about the Brahmaputra have emerged as a perennial handicap in making more effective interventions in its course inside Assam.
This was a point of agreement among several participants attending a consultation forum on water governance in Assam organised by Aaranyak with support from India Water Partnership, New Delhi.
Walter Fernandes of North East Social Research Centre found this a difficult proposition to accept. �How can we expect to have any integrated action plan without an integration of data?� he enquired.
Paucity of data in the public domain about interventions made in rivers inside Bhutan was another issue that attracted the attention of the participants. Information about dam building activities in rivers, and its possible impact on downstream areas of Assam are yet to become accessible to many research institutions in the state.
Focus was brought on to the ground water resources of the state in the context of �drought like situations� which prevailed in Assam in 2005-06.