GUWAHATI, Nov 9 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today urged the Ministry of Jal Shakti to take up a special programme for flood and erosion management in Assam. He requested the ministry to convert 4474 km of old embankments of the State into road-cum-embankments. The Chief Minister made the requests while speaking at the review meeting of the 10th High Powered Review Board of Brahmaputra Board in Guwahati today.
The Chief Minister said that the State government constructed nearly 4,474 km of embankments since 1954. Most of the embankments have become vulnerable due to expiry of the design period, he said and requested the ministry to take steps for converting the old embankments into road cum embankments.
Stating that river erosion in Assam is of serious magnitude, the Chief Minister said that the State has already lost several hectares of plain land together with loss of many public and private infrastructures. He said that erosion is also systematically destroying the chain of embankments, which provide relief from annual floods. He said that there is an urgent need to look into the matter for a permanent solution to protect the State from further erosion.
He also sought support from the Ministry of Jal Shakti for inclusion of erosion in the admissible list of calamities for assistance under NDRF and SDRF. He said the matter has already been taken up with the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Sonowal said that as per direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a high level committee for proper management of water resources in North-East under the chairmanship of Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog was constituted for evolving an integrated flood management strategy. The report of the committee suggested establishment of North East Water Management Authority, he said adding that there is a need to expeditiously prepare a road map for the authority.
The Chief Minister also underlined the need for sharing hydro-meteorological data, adopting latest technique of data analysis and flood early warning system and requested the ministry to take steps for constitution of North East Data Centre at Guwahati.
The Chief Minister also requested to revive the flood management programme and requested to release the balance Central share of the FMP schemes which were already taken up in the State.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that Brahmaputra Board has to work with scientific approach for successful implementation of projects in the region. If the issues of water resources in the region are utilised properly then it can play a vital role in transformation in the life of people and the economy of the entire northeastern region, he added.
Mentioning that Brahmaputra and Barak valleys are high priority areas for the Ministry of Jal Shakti, he said that the Brahmaputra Board requires to be strengthened to be able to meet the needs and challenges of the northeastern States.
Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti Ratan Lal Kataria, ministers of northeastern States, Chairman of Brahmaputra Board, officials of Union government and governments of the northeastern States were also present.