DOOMDOOMA, March 30 - Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Flood Erosion Resistance Struggle Forum (FERSF) has sought the Prime Minister�s special attention on the state�s burning problem of flood and riverbank erosion.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the organisation�s president Binod Kedia wrote as follows: �...from 1954 to 2012, flood-induced riverbank erosion has gobbled up 7.86 lakh hectares of land, which is 7% of the total area of Assam, thereby directly impacting 36 Assembly constituencies.
As a result, thousands of people have been displaced. Such ill-fated people have been compelled to live rest of their lives in roadside shelters.
Seeking Government assistance, the erosion-hit people frequent the corridors of power in Dispur, often to no avail.�
Kedia also wrote in the letter: �Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur constituencies invariably suffer from flood and soil erosion every year. Large areas are perennially submerged in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts by the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
Their massive devastation that follows can be controlled by protection of the river bank. Though project blueprints have been drawn, and several requests made to both the earlier state governments as well as the current one, besides letters dashed off to you � the Prime Minister, the State and Central water ministries and concerned departments, however, have failed to evince any positive outcome.
Both the Central and State governments have been negligent in sanctioning and implementing the following projects: (1) Integrated Flood and River Bank Erosion Management Works at Rohmoria Area � Rs 78.48 crore, and (2) Anti-Erosion Measures to Protect Bar-Derak, Na-Chumani and its Adjoining Areas from Erosion by Na-Dehing and Dirak � Rs 14.41 crore, since the last several years. The schemes have obtained all the statutory clearance like techno-economic clearance from the Central Water Commission, investment clearance from NITI Ayog etc., for funding under the flood management programme (FMP).
As per the requirement of the Department of Water Resources, Government of India, all the documents have already been submitted by the Government of Assam. Letters from the Department of Finance, Government of Assam as well as Department of Water Resources, Government of Assam were also submitted to the Union Ministry of Water Resources that the State government is ready with its share of 20% as per the state budget provisions.
But it has been decided by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, Ganga Rejuvenation, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping that no fresh projects under the FMP component would be taken up.�
�The common man or rather the tax-payer fails to understand whether the system in place can help one in need or add to his problems,� Kedia wrote in his letter.