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Majority of embankments in State vulnerable

By Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, May 9 - It can never be the expected information for the people of the State, rather it may be a shocking one for them. Out of the about 4,474 km-long embankments along the Brahmaputra, the Barak and their tributaries, 75 per cent, that is about 3,500 km, is vulnerable.

Engineers of the State Water Resources Department (WRD) attribute this to the expiry of the life (design period) of these structures, which were constructed in the 1960s. Moreover, erosion is also posing threats to these structures, while encroachment and soil condition of the areas where these embankments are located, have also added to their problems.

During the floods in 2015, breaches in the embankments occurred at 50 locations. Of these breaches, 46 occurred on the structures constructed by the WRD, while one breach occurred on a structure constructed by the DRDA and three breaches occurred on the structures constructed by the Soil Conservation and other departments of the State government, said sources in the WRD.

Altogether 31 schemes for closing the breaches that occurred in 2015, were approved against an estimated cost of Rs 73.92 crore and May 15, 2016 has been fixed as the deadline for completion of these schemes.

Brahmaputra Valley: Apprising of the status of the closing works of the 2015 breaches, sources said that the WRD has by this time closed 11 breaches � eight on the Mora Pagladiya, two on the Nona and one on the Pagladiya under Nalbari division. It has closed two breaches on the Saralbhanga river under Kokrajhar division, and closed two breaches on the Aie river in Bongaigaon district.

In Darrang district, the DRDA has closed one breach on the Saktola river, while the Soil Conservation Department has closed three breaches on the Noanadi. In Udalguri district, the WRD has closed one breach on the Panchnoi. It has closed one breach on the Puthimari in Baksa district.

In Sonitpur district, it has closed three breaches on the Chatrang river, one breach on the Brahmajan river, four breaches on the Magonijan river. It is working on plugging the six breaches on the Singra Magonijan river and so far it has attained over 60 per cent progress in this regard and it is expected that by May 15, 2016 these breaches could be completely closed.

It has also attained around 60 per cent success in closing the breach on the Sessa river and it is expected that it would be able to complete the closing works by May 15, 2016.

However, it could not take up the work of closing the five breaches on the Solengi river this year due to field problems related to channel cutting works. The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the WRD had advised taking up the channel cutting works before execution of breach closing works. Proposal for channel cutting works under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) has not been approved by the government. Now, a proposal for channel cutting, with an estimated cost of Rs 556.21 lakh has been prepared and it is under process of obtaining government approval, sources said.

Under the Barpeta division, three breaches on the Pahumara were taken up for closing. Closing works at two locations are under progress and at one location, progress has been hampered due to land acquisition problems. Nevertheless, one breach on the Mora Chaulkhowa has been closed, while work on its sluice culvert is under progress.

Land acquisition problems halted the breach closing works on the Beki river under this division, sources said.

Under the Nagaon division, progress of one breach closing work on the Brahmaputra at Birinabari was hampered due to land acquisition problems and incessant rains since the second week of April last. Work is under progress after settlement of the problem and till April 29, 2016, around 33 per cent progress could be attained, sources said.

Barak Valley: Under Karimganj division, 30 per cent progress has been attained in closing a breach on the Singla river. Incessant rains since second week of April had hampered the work there.

Under the Hailakandi division, the gap resulting from one breach has been closed temporarily on the Katakhal river and thus entry of the floodwater to the country side has been prevented. But in the case of the Barak river under Silchar division, there remains a breach to be plugged as no bidder came forward to take up the work and the tender has been re-floated in this respect.

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