GUWAHATI, Feb 6 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today urged the Centre to seek international cooperation in tackling the issues related with the Chinese bids to dam the Brahmaputra. Countries like China and Bangladesh should be involved in such endeavours, he said. He was inaugurating the two-day Assam Water Conference organised by the State�s Water Resources Department (WRD) at its Water Research and Management Institute (WRMI) here today.
It needs mention here that China has chalked out plans to execute several dam projects in the Tibetan reach of the Brahmaputra, which is known as Yarlung Tsangpo in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The Chief Minister expressed grave concern over the Chinese bids to dam the Brahmaputra.
He also regretted that the Central government and even the Finance Commissions of the country are yet to realise the gravity of the problem of erosion caused by the rivers in the State.
The Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) money released by the Central government to the State to mitigate the problems caused by natural disasters are yet to be allocated for lessening the erosion-related woes of the State�s people, rued the Chief Minister.
Moreover, nobody at the Centre takes Assam�s flood problems seriously as it has become an annual affair. There is a general lack of seriousness at the Central government level towards the woes of the NE region. This is manifested in the delays occurring in clearing the files concerning the region, he said, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach to ensure equal development of all regions of the country.
Addressing the function, Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti said efforts are on to remould the Brahmaputra Board, keeping in view the river-related woes and hydro potential of the NE region. It is expected that the Board would soon emerge in its new shape, she said.
The idea of remoulding the Board and strengthening the Central Water Commission (CWC) have been mooted by the present government at the Centre in view of the problems the rivers are creating for the regions like the NE, she said. She informed the gathering of the hydrologists and scholars that a Brahmaputra Board meeting is scheduled for February 11 in Shillong.
She further apprised the gathering that the issue of inter-linking of the country�s rivers was discussed at a meeting held at New Delhi recently. The meeting was convened by her Ministry. �We need reservoirs to check loss of our river waters and we must utilize the hydro potential of the NE region,� she said.
Underscoring the need to work for packaging all the rivers of the country and also to wrest the World Heritage Site status for Majuli, as well as working for making it the highest sought after tourist destination on the world, she said, �We must work towards these ends.�
The Chief Minister also inaugurated the exhibition held on the occasion and dedicated the Brahmaputra Gallery to the people of the State at the WRMI.
The inaugural function was also addressed by State�s WRD Minister Basanta Das, Union Minister of State (Independent) for Development of the North East Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh and State�s Chief Secretary Jitesh Khosla and Additional Chief Secretary (Water Resources) Davinder Kumar.