JORHAT, Dec 29 - Union Road Transport, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Jairam Gadkari today laid the foundation stones of several big projects in Majuli, among which the Rs 237-crore project named �Protection of Majuli Island from Flood and Erosion� to be implemented by the Brahmaputra Board, is the largest in terms of money and area.
Gadkari, who arrived in the river island at around 11 am in a helicopter, symbolically laid the foundation stones of the projects in a function organised at the Samuguri Satra Higher Secondary School Field at Rawnapar.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, State Water Resources Minister Kesab Mahanta, Lakhimpur MP Pradan Baruah and Tingkhong MLA Bimal Borah were also present on the occasion.
The other projects are the �Brahmaputra Board Office Complex,� to be constructed at Bongaon, Majuli at a cost of Rs 40 crore, and the Rs 61-crore project to repair Brahmaputra embankments by the State Water Resources Department.
The Union Minister, in his address, said that he has asked his ministry to ensure that the project to protect Majuli from large-scale erosion and annual floods is completed within a period of 18 months, and that the quality of work should be of high standard.
Stating that the Centre and the State government were giving special attention to the development and protection of Majuli from natural calamities, Gadkari said the treasure trove of varied cultural practices and traditions, along with the flora and fauna, has made the Brahmaputra island a unique place.
He said the both the BJP governments at the Centre and the State have already initiated a slew of measures for the protection and preservation of the culture of Majuli.
Gadkari also flagged off the Inland Waterways Authority of India cargo vessel service between Pandu (Guwahati) and Hatisingmari (Dhubri) from Majuli.
Gadkari, who complained of uneasiness after delivering his speech, was attended to by a team of doctors on the dais and his medical parameters were later found to be normal.
After the function, Gadkari came down from the stage and walked up to the helicopter to go to the Kaziranga National Park. He is scheduled to chair the ninth high-powered meeting of the Brahmaputra Board with all the Chief Ministers of the North Eastern States and West Bengal tomorrow.
Sonowal, in his address, said that his government would fulfil the pre-poll promises on Majuli, and claimed that a lot of schemes have already been announced and work, too, has started on these schemes.
The Chief Minister said that as he represents the Majuli seat, he would see to it the island gets protected and development benefits reach all the residents. He said the necessary infrastructure for the new district was being developed.