NEW DELHI, Dec 27 � Calling for linking the North-east with the National Gas Grid, Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi today called for a special package to tackle erosion effectively.
Addressing the 57th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC), Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi touched on a few of the critical issues of the States including agriculture, flood and erosion, disaster management and connectivity among others. While the written speeches were laid, each of the Chief Minister, was given about 10 minutes� time to present his views, said sources.
Referring to the power sector in the North-east, the Chief Minister asked for gas linkage for the proposed 100 MW Amguri TPP the from Ministry of Natural Gas and Petroleum. The National Gas Grid should be extended to provide at least one node in Assam. For the development of the Region, it is necessary to ensure energy security.
�For this, we need oil, gas and coal linkages. The North-east is yet to be linked with the National Gas Grid. This requires to be corrected soon,� Gogoi demanded.
Stating that flood has cost Assam 7.4 per cent of the gross geographical area amounting to nearly 4.27 lakh hectares of land mass since 1954, Gogoi narrated that the loss of 8,000 hectares of land every year continues due to erosion. Bank erosion has caused more human and economic losses than flooding. �We have completely lost 4,521 villages and erosion has affected 9 lakh families,� he said.
�I probably have the largest population displaced by erosion and staying on embankments anywhere in the world. The Task Force constituted by the Government of India has evaluated the cumulative loss due to flood and erosion since 1954 as Rs 36,000 crore at the 2004 price level. There is an urgent need to look into the matter for a permanent solution to protect the State from further erosion and flood, he said.
Speaking at the meeting, the Chief Minister said at one time the geographical isolation of the North-east was a constraint but now because of India�s Look East Policy, new opportunities would open up. �But for this, we need to improve internal as well as external communication links.�
In this connection, he called for upgradation of the Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi Airport. The only international airport requires 300 acres of land with acquisition cost of Rs 125 crore. This cost should be made part of the Project cost to be borne by the Government of India.
Further listing his demand, the Chief Minister urged the Centre to declare the North East Frontier Railways as a dedicated zone for the region. Doubling of the railway line from Alipurduar to Guwahati and Tinsukia to Guwahati was also clled for.
Further, the missing links such as Dhubri-Phulbari, Tinsukia-Naharkatiya-Hukanjuri and road link to Majuli island should be developed urgently for better connectivity. Gogoi projected a project cost of Rs 10,000 crore.