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Civil society members discuss River Basin Management Bill

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 4 - River projects should be multipurpose ones and downstream impacts should be taken care of by the new legislation proposed by the Centre through the Draft River Basin Management Bill, 2018.

This was observed by participants during a civil society consultation on the Bill jointly organised by Oxfam India, Aaranyak, Peoples� Action for Development, North East Research and Social Work Networking and the Trust for Change and Development here on Saturday, under the Trans-Boundary Rivers of South Asia project of Oxfam India.

The Centre has set November 5 as the last date for sending suggestions on the Bill.

Presiding over the discussion, Prof Chandan Mahanta of IIT-Guwahati said that though the Bill was long awaited and it has some wonderful provisions, it should not be expected to be a comprehensive legislation.

Wilfred Topno of Peoples� Action for Development said that there should be clear-cut statements on the fate of organisations like the Brahmaputra Board after the legislation coming into being. The master plan to be prepared by the River Basin Authority under this legislation should be based on the human development index, he said.

Madalson Ronghang of Binneswar Brahma Engineering College suggested that the Bill should incorporate provisions of accountability regarding appropriation of water resources. Besides, he said, there should be a provision for sustainable development with a view to safeguarding the interest of the posterity.

Some participants said the Bill has no word on keeping intact the vegetation cover. They said the communities living in the catchment and downstream areas should be treated as an integral part of the master plan preparing process since they have to bear the brunt of any activity in the upstream areas.

Addressing the inaugural session, Dr Parthajyoti Das, water expert from Aaranyak, said the Bill was silent on the role of existing river boards like the Brahmaputra Board and the powers and functions of the water resources departments of the states.

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Civil society members discuss River Basin Management Bill

GUWAHATI, Nov 4 - River projects should be multipurpose ones and downstream impacts should be taken care of by the new legislation proposed by the Centre through the Draft River Basin Management Bill, 2018.

This was observed by participants during a civil society consultation on the Bill jointly organised by Oxfam India, Aaranyak, Peoples� Action for Development, North East Research and Social Work Networking and the Trust for Change and Development here on Saturday, under the Trans-Boundary Rivers of South Asia project of Oxfam India.

The Centre has set November 5 as the last date for sending suggestions on the Bill.

Presiding over the discussion, Prof Chandan Mahanta of IIT-Guwahati said that though the Bill was long awaited and it has some wonderful provisions, it should not be expected to be a comprehensive legislation.

Wilfred Topno of Peoples� Action for Development said that there should be clear-cut statements on the fate of organisations like the Brahmaputra Board after the legislation coming into being. The master plan to be prepared by the River Basin Authority under this legislation should be based on the human development index, he said.

Madalson Ronghang of Binneswar Brahma Engineering College suggested that the Bill should incorporate provisions of accountability regarding appropriation of water resources. Besides, he said, there should be a provision for sustainable development with a view to safeguarding the interest of the posterity.

Some participants said the Bill has no word on keeping intact the vegetation cover. They said the communities living in the catchment and downstream areas should be treated as an integral part of the master plan preparing process since they have to bear the brunt of any activity in the upstream areas.

Addressing the inaugural session, Dr Parthajyoti Das, water expert from Aaranyak, said the Bill was silent on the role of existing river boards like the Brahmaputra Board and the powers and functions of the water resources departments of the states.

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