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Finance Commission recommendation on natural calamity status to erosion hailed

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 26 - Welcoming the 15th Finance Commission�s recommendation of natural calamity status to erosion by rivers in Assam, the ruling BJP said it will go a long way in addressing the long pending problem.

�Riverbank erosion is an even bigger threat than floods. Erosion is a far more dangerous problem. Around 8,000 hectares of land in Assam is lost due to erosion every year. From 1950 till now, over 4.27 lakh of agricultural land in Assam have been gobbled up by erosion. Over 1.25 lakh families have lost their land and become destitute,� said State BJP chief spokesperson Rupam Goswami.

He said having riverbank erosion included in the list of natural calamities will be a positive development, once the Commission�s recommendations are accepted by the Centre.

�Earlier, there was always a problem due to lack of dedicated funds for tackling erosion or undertaking anti-erosion work as it was not included in the list. Now, the money will come directly for erosion under the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF). This will streamline allocation and distribution of funds to address the issue,� Goswami said.

He claimed that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had made a special request to the 15th Finance Commission for the inclusion of erosion caused by rivers as a natural calamity.

�This is a major achievement of our government,� said the senior BJP leader.

He also accused the opposition Congress of indulging in �unnecessary politics�.

�Congress party was in power for decades both at the Centre and in Assam but it never displayed any seriousness in addressing the basic issues and problems affecting the masses. It is our BJP-led government which took the initiative for the formation of the North East Water Management Authority. Our government completed dredging of the Barak river. The Narendra Modi-led government in New Delhi and the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government at Dispur have worked with seriousness to solve Assam�s burning problems,� Goswami added.

He said all political parties and non-political organisations should �rise above politics� on basic issues affecting the masses.

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