GUWAHATI, Aug 3 - Only 738 km of embankments along the Brahmaputra, Barak and their tributaries in the State have been repaired or strengthened from time to time while no work has been undertaken in the remaining portions and this has worsened the flood situation in Assam.
Addressing a press conference here today, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Commerce & Industry and Transport Chandra Mohan Patowary said that agreement has been reached with the World Bank under which the multilateral agency will provide Rs 1,500 crore to the State for embankment related works.
�The previous State government did not carry out any work for strengthening and repair of embankments constructed decades earlier. No repair or strengthening work was undertaken for 3,700 km of embankments. Many embankments are over 25 years old and there is a need to upgrade and strengthen such structures,� he said.
Patowary added that of the 31.05 lakh hectares of flood prone land in Assam, protective measures have been taken for only 16.50 lakh hectare so far.
He said the new BJP-led government in the State is committed to rectifying this and has asked the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to explore the possibility of going for the �geo-tube� technology in embankments.
�However, the cost of using geo-tube technology in embankments is Rs 28 crore per km as against Rs 2.2 crore per km for embankments using earth. So we will have to study the cost factor in this regard,� said Patowary.
He said a vigilance committee consisting senior ministers and officials will be formed to monitor work of embankments.
Patowary also castigated the previous UPA regime in Centre and said that with regard to the 41 flood control schemes taken up during the 12th Five Year Plan with an estimated cost of Rs 1,386.97 crore, while the State government released its share of funds, the Union government only released Rs 27.22 crore of its total share of Rs 1,016 crore.
He said the State government has funds to the tune of over Rs 654.55 crore under the State Disaster Response Fund and there is no scarcity of money for relief and rehabilitation of affected people.
He said that once flood water recede completely, a proper assessment of damages to lives and property will be carried out on the basis of reports submitted by MLAs from their respective constituencies as well as from government agencies then based on requirement more funds will be sought from the Centre.
Asked why Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh did not announce a special package for the Assam floods, Patowary said, �The issue of package is always brought up for politicising the issue. Let us have details of what happened to all the packages declared by previous governments over the years.�
Regarding the current flood situation, Patowary said that a total of three waves have hit the State so far this monsoon season. A total of 39,81,802 persons in 4,434 villages spread across 114 revenue circles in 29 districts have been hit during the three waves.