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Rs 177-cr project proposal for Kaziranga erosion

By Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, Sept 6 � The Water Resources department (WRD) of the State has proposed a Rs 177 crore 56 lakh 24 thousand scheme for protection of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) from erosion. The project has been named- �Protection of Kaziranga National Park in between Dhanbari and Arimora area from the erosion of the river Brahmaputra.� This is aimed at providing anti-erosion protection to 34 km-long stretch between Dhanbari and Arimora, near the historical Arimora Forest Rest House.

It is now pending with the Central Water Commission (CWC) for its techno-economic clearance. The mandatory approval of the State Forest department for securing the CWC approval to the project is also awaited, said WRD sources.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded Kaziranga sub-project, also known as the Bankowal Project, has been kept in abeyance due to the non-availability of Environment and Forest department's clearance, sources said.

Sources said that following suggestions from the Technical Advisory Committee of the WRD, the initially proposed components of bull heads were dropped from the scheme.

Now, its components include nine pre-stressed concrete (PSC) or RCC porcupine screens in three different reaches at a spacing of 1.5 times of length of the porcupine screen to be provided, multi-layer PSC/RCC porcupine screen at a spacing of 1.5 times of the length of porcupine screens to be provided all along the proposed work.

However, considering the present site configuration in the recent satellite map, the position of the porcupine screens is changed. Moreover, in view of the present bank erosion at Dhansirimukh due to the pressure created by the combined river channels of the Dhansiri and the Brahmaputra, two more multi-layer porcupine screens are provided in order to retard the erosion action as well as to divert the flow of the Dhansiri river to the outer channel of the Brahmaputra.

For the purpose, one proposal for excavation of a leading channel for length of 2,800 metres along the existing sand bar (chapori), opposite to the confluence point of the river Dhansiri and the Brahmaputra, has been made in this project.

The TAC suggested that there should be nine porcupine screens. And to divert the flow of the Dhansiri, two more screens have been proposed in the estimate and thus the total number of porcupine screens in the project now stands at 11.

The benefited area after execution of the project is estimated to be 10,000 hectares of land with the benefit cost ratio of 3.25:1, sources said.

Available records state that the area between Arimora and Agoratoli (Muklong) of the KNP has been is facing a constant threat of erosion since 1970. Erosion in the area became serious in 1998 for which the Forest Department had shifted its offices located in this area, on several occasions.

It is estimated that around 35 square km area of the KNP in this stretch of the riverbank has been eroded away by the Brahmaputra so far.

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