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Experts hold different views on Brahmaputra study

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, Aug 7 - Experts here hold different views on the August 1 announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that an amount of Rs 100 crore would be sanctioned to study the Brahmaputra, covering all its aspects, including its �inter-state and international ramifications�.

Former Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University Dr Nirmal Kumar Choudhury, who is also an engineering expert, described the announcement �as a great opportunity.� He maintained there should be an intensive study on the Brahmaputra flood and erosion.

A team should be formed with leading experts of the country, and if required, they should seek advice and suggestions from their counterparts in other countries, where such problems have been solved, said Dr Choudhury.

Talking to this newspaper, environmental scientist and fluvial geomorphologist Prof Dulal Chandra Goswami has welcomed the announcement saying, �We have been waiting for this move for a long time.�

On the other hand, former Secretary of the Water Resources Department (WRD) and former Chairman of the WRD Technical Appraisal Committee (TAC) Sachindra Sarma maintained that the Brahmaputra Board has made enough study of the river. �The idea of the study mooted by Prime Minister Modi is not at all clear. It is not known as to what it is aimed at,� he observed.

Another former WRD Secretary NC Das has also maintained that the Prime Minister�s announcement is not clear as to what aspects of the Brahmaputra are to be studied. �There are a number of studies done on the Brahmaputra by several agencies like the Brahmaputra Board, IIM Bangalore, Central Water Commission, Assam WRD and several foreign experts. The Prime Minister should have been categorical in his statement on the study,� said Das.

Prof Goswami maintained that the proposal to study the Brahmaputra in the context of its vast and varied watershed, comprising several northeastern states, besides Assam, and the adjoining basin countries, should provide the required framework for developing a long-term strategy for integrated management of its water and other natural resources and its disaster potential.

�The new paradigm evolved through the study should address the issues related to sustainable development, ecological concerns and sociocultural needs and aspirations of the basin people,� he said.

It is also expected that this framework of study will help in effectively addressing the mounting threats being triggered by climate change in the Eastern Himalayan region, vis-�-vis the monsoon weather system in this part of the globe, which seems to have gone increasingly aberrant in recent times, said Prof Goswami.

Welcoming the Prime Minister�s announcement, former WRD Secretary Dinesh Deka said study of the Brahmaputra, particularly on its morphology, is very crucial. �The morphology-related study should be done at three stages of the river � its hilly reach, its reach in the plains up to its confluence with the Ganga and then up to the Bay of Bengal,� he opined.

Welcoming the announcement, environmentalist and Brahmaputra researcher Dr Partha Jyoti Das said it has now become imperative that the study precedes the physical interventions like dredging its bed, in a logical order of the things to be done.

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Experts hold different views on Brahmaputra study

GUWAHATI, Aug 7 - Experts here hold different views on the August 1 announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that an amount of Rs 100 crore would be sanctioned to study the Brahmaputra, covering all its aspects, including its �inter-state and international ramifications�.

Former Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University Dr Nirmal Kumar Choudhury, who is also an engineering expert, described the announcement �as a great opportunity.� He maintained there should be an intensive study on the Brahmaputra flood and erosion.

A team should be formed with leading experts of the country, and if required, they should seek advice and suggestions from their counterparts in other countries, where such problems have been solved, said Dr Choudhury.

Talking to this newspaper, environmental scientist and fluvial geomorphologist Prof Dulal Chandra Goswami has welcomed the announcement saying, �We have been waiting for this move for a long time.�

On the other hand, former Secretary of the Water Resources Department (WRD) and former Chairman of the WRD Technical Appraisal Committee (TAC) Sachindra Sarma maintained that the Brahmaputra Board has made enough study of the river. �The idea of the study mooted by Prime Minister Modi is not at all clear. It is not known as to what it is aimed at,� he observed.

Another former WRD Secretary NC Das has also maintained that the Prime Minister�s announcement is not clear as to what aspects of the Brahmaputra are to be studied. �There are a number of studies done on the Brahmaputra by several agencies like the Brahmaputra Board, IIM Bangalore, Central Water Commission, Assam WRD and several foreign experts. The Prime Minister should have been categorical in his statement on the study,� said Das.

Prof Goswami maintained that the proposal to study the Brahmaputra in the context of its vast and varied watershed, comprising several northeastern states, besides Assam, and the adjoining basin countries, should provide the required framework for developing a long-term strategy for integrated management of its water and other natural resources and its disaster potential.

�The new paradigm evolved through the study should address the issues related to sustainable development, ecological concerns and sociocultural needs and aspirations of the basin people,� he said.

It is also expected that this framework of study will help in effectively addressing the mounting threats being triggered by climate change in the Eastern Himalayan region, vis-�-vis the monsoon weather system in this part of the globe, which seems to have gone increasingly aberrant in recent times, said Prof Goswami.

Welcoming the Prime Minister�s announcement, former WRD Secretary Dinesh Deka said study of the Brahmaputra, particularly on its morphology, is very crucial. �The morphology-related study should be done at three stages of the river � its hilly reach, its reach in the plains up to its confluence with the Ganga and then up to the Bay of Bengal,� he opined.

Welcoming the announcement, environmentalist and Brahmaputra researcher Dr Partha Jyoti Das said it has now become imperative that the study precedes the physical interventions like dredging its bed, in a logical order of the things to be done.

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