GUWAHATI, May 29 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has admitted that he is not satisfied with the performance of the Brahmaputra Board in Majuli. He also admitted that dealing with the problems of flood and erosion by the river Brahmaputra would not be an easy task and it would require involvement of all the stakeholders.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Sonowal said that he has personally visited a number of flood and erosion affected areas of the State including the vulnerable locations in Majuli. He admitted that he is not satisfied with the performance of the Brahmaputra Board in Majuli and asked the Chairman of the Board to conduct a thorough probe into it. He also directed the Majuli district administration to carry out a probe into the schemes implemented by the Brahmaputra Board.
Despite repeated directions by the Chief Minister, the Water Resources Department failed to complete the repair of the damaged embankments on time, which has posed a serious threat to life and property of people in different parts of the State. Replying to a question on the issue, Sonowal said that the Government is trying its best but the problem compounded because of the fact that most of the embankments outlived their normal life span.
Sonowal said that Assam has around 5,000 km of embankments and some of them are 50 to 60 years old. He alleged that over the years, no serious step was taken by successive Governments to maintain the embankments properly and that is why, majority of those are in bad shape. Soil erosion has also posed serious threat to the embankments. �Though in the last three years, we are putting up our best efforts, it is not an easy task to strengthen all the old embankments within a short period of time,� he added.
The Chief Minister also admitted that the State Government alone cannot control the fury of the rivers Brahmaputra and Barak and their tributaries and all the stakeholders would have to be involved. He pointed out that in his first term as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had taken the initiative of forming a high level committee headed by the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog to carry out a detailed study of the problems of flood and erosion so that necessary measures can be taken to deal with the problem. He expressed confidence that during his next term as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will take effective steps to deal with the problems after receiving the report and recommendations of the committee. He also said that all the neighbouring states and countries should be involved in the process of dealing with floods and erosion as very often, deforestation in upper catchments lead to soil erosion and siltation of the beds of the rivers, which reduces their water carrying capacity.