GUWAHATI, Nov 10 - IIT Guwahati experts, carrying out a study on the preparation to mitigate the impacts of climate change in NE region, have called for review and redesign of the railway, highway and PWD road culverts and bridges in the State.
The observation made by the IIT Guwahati experts that adequate size and proper placing of the railway, highway and PWD road culverts and bridges is the need of the hour for preventing crop damage in the adverse climatic condition, has been justified this rainy season by the extensive damage caused to sali crop by stagnant floodwaters or storm waters in many areas of the State.
The IIT Guwahati experts arrived at the above conclusion while carrying out the �Data collection project from tea gardens and other sources of North East India and their analysis for climate change study�. The project has been carried out under Prof Arup Kumar Sarma, BP Chaliha Chair Professor for Water Resources of the Civil Engineering Department of the IIT Guwahati.
According to Prof Sarma, former Superintending Manager, Tezpore Tea Company, who has been working as the field expert of the project, the IIT Guwahati experts found that the inadequate size of the culverts and the bridges and in some cases their improper placing, have made waterlogging a perennial problem in the tea estates and agricultural areas of the State, located in their upstream areas, while for the tea estates and agricultural areas located in their downstream areas, erosion has been making things miserable.
As these structures are under the government agencies, private parties, including the tea planters and the farmers, cannot effect any change to the water-carrying capacities of these structures to reduce their suffering.
The designs of such culverts and bridges under the railways, highways, PWD roads, etc., should be reviewed and redesigned considering the actual drainage need taking into consideration the phenomenon of climate change. In Assam, which gets high amount of rains, a road without a culvert may lead to various critical problems, observed the IIT experts.
During the study, it was found that construction of new highways in the south bank and railways in the north bank of the Brahmaputra were in progress and now the north bank railway line is almost completed. It appears that in many places the culverts and bridges were not put in correct places and as a result these culverts and bridges cannot carry the water at the required rate and as a result, the catchment areas suffer from waterlogging.
One acre inch of rainfall means 1,02879 litres of water. During climate change study, it was seen that in Assam rainfall intensity (mm per day) will increase in future causing more erosion and flood. At the same time, the number of dry days will also increase, as such it may lead to drought-like situations.
Prof Sarma advocated planning and management of water for both flood and drought situations, with due emphasis on climate change.
If this situation is allowed to continue and no corrective measures are taken immediately more agricultural lands will be degraded and more sali paddy areas may come under zero production in the near future, said the experts.