Israeli tech used to guard riverine border: Sonowal
R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, March 11: A proposal to create North East Water Resources Authority to work for permanent solution of the problem of floods is under active consideration of the Government of India, said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. He also said that sealing of the international border with Bangladesh to check infiltration is one of the priorities of the Centre.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Sonowal said that the Prime Minister had formed a high level committee headed by the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog to study the problem of floods and to suggest measures to deal with it. The committee recommended formation of a North East Water Resources Authority and the matter is now under active consideration of Government of India.
Sonowal said that dredging of the river Barak is almost complete and the Government engaged 16 expert groups to conduct a hydrological survey of the Brahmaputra River in its entire course in the State so that dredging can be carried out. The reports of the committee have been sent to the Centre for approval as the help of the Centre would be required to carry out such a mega project.
He also pointed out that the 15th Finance Commission has recommended that erosion should be treated as a natural calamity.
“The State will receive funds from the National Disaster Response Fund not only to deal with erosion but also to provide relief to the erosion-hit people,” he said.
Dealing with the problem of infiltration of foreigners was one of the major poll planks of the BJP-led Government and the Chief Minister said that sealing of the international border was one of the top priorities of the Government. He said that at the initiative of the Prime Minister, Israeli technology was imported to guard more than 40 kilometres of international riverine border in Dhubri district and the same technology would now be used to guard the riverine border in the Barak valley. He pointed out that earlier the riverine borders were considered most vulnerable as there was no physical barrier. He also said that the fencing along the Assam-Bangladesh border is complete and the Centre also put “Smart fencings” in the vulnerable locations. He said that on its part, the State Government has deployed a second line of defence of Assam Police personnel to improve border guarding.
Replying to a question on the Government’s stand on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Sonowal said that the stand is very clear right from the day the final NRC was published. “We have already submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court calling for 20 per cent re-verification in the districts having international border and 10 per cent in all the other districts. The verdict of the Apex Court is awaited,” he added.
The Chief Minister said that reforming the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) was one of the major success stories of the BJP- led Government. He said that there was a time when cash- for- jobs was the order of the day, but “we launched a probe and put APSC chairman, members and even those who got jobs through unfair means behind the bars.” He said that as soon as the reports of question paper leak in the test for recruitment of police sub inspectors came to the notice of the Government, the examination was stopped and as many as 36 persons involved in the scam were arrested and the charge sheet was filed before the stipulated time frame. During the tenure of the BJP-led government, all recruitments were made on the basis of merit only and that is why, youths belonging to the poorest of families got jobs in government departments, he added.