GUWAHATI, Sept 20 - �Assam is endowed with enormous water resources in the form of large perennial rivers and other water bodies. But the two key issues in water resource management in Assam concern flood and riverbank erosion, and land degradation due to sand deposition and associated problems.�
This observation was made by State Water Resources, IT, and Science & Technology Minister Keshab Mahanta while speaking at the monthly dialogue of North East Institute of Advanced Studies (Northeast-IAS) today.
Mahanta said that in the post-Independence period, Assam faced major floods in 1954, 1962, 1972, 1977, 1984, 1988, 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2012. Almost every year, three to four waves of floods ravage the flood-prone areas of Assam. �Average annual loss due to flood in Assam is to the tune of Rs 200 crore and the worst floods were in 1998 when the loss was estimated at about Rs 500 crore and then in 2004 when the loss was about Rs 771 crore,� he said.
Mahanta advocated a comprehensive approach consisting of sound knowledge development, planning and coordination, integrating short to long-term strategies and programmes for easing the complex flood and riverbank erosion problems in the Brahmaputra floodplains.
�The bottomline of flood management in Assam is managing rivers without disturbing and creating imbalance of Nature. We must respect rivers,� he added.
Earlier, welcoming the gathering, Keshav C Das, founder of Northeast-IAS, gave an account of the flood-induced damage in the State over the decades and stressed the need for a holistic approach to mitigate the issues. He requested the Minister to take up a balanced combination of structural and non-structural measures to manage immediate flood and erosion risks.
A policy brief titled �From Vision to Action - Water Resource Management in Assam� developed by the Northeast-IAS was launched at the event.