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NEWMA studying State flood, erosion problems: Sonowal

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, July 21 - The North East Water Management Authority (NEWMA) formed by the Prime Minister to study the reasons for flood and erosion in Assam, has started functioning and the Centre would start working on permanent solution to the problems after receiving the report of the Authority, said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Sonowal said that for the first time since Independence, a comprehensive study is being carried out to find the causes of floods and erosion by the Authority, which is headed by Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog and the Centre would be able to start working on finding permanent solution to the problems only after completion of the study. He admitted that it is beyond the means of the State Government to carry out such a mega project and the Centre would have to deal with it.

The Chief Minister pointed out that the study would have to take into account the fact that at least five rivers enter Assam from Bhutan. Similarly, a number of rivers enter the State from the neighbouring states carrying debris, which reduced the water carrying capacity of the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries resulting in floods and erosion. He said that while carrying out such a study, the team engaged for the job would have to deal with inter state and international issues. �The Prime Minister has assured that the Centre would work on a permanent solution of the problem immediately after receiving the detailed report from the Authority created for it,� he added.

On the ambitious project of the Government to dredge the bed of the river Brahmaputra and construct roads on both sides of the river in its entire course in the State, the Chief Minister said that a proper hydrological survey of the river is required for it. He said that the Water Resources Department has carried out a hydrological survey of the river Brahmaputra in its entire course and the report has been submitted to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of the Government of India so that the mega project can be implemented. He said that he has also spoken to the Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari in this regard and hoped that the Centre would soon start the process of implementing the project.

Sonowal said that because of the magnitude of the river Brahmaputra, dredging is not possible without a detailed hydrological survey, which delayed the project. He, however, said that the dredging of the bed of the river Barak was undertaken successfully.

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