GUWAHATI, Aug 21 - State Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta today said that there had been 26 breaches on embankments in 15 districts during the recent floods, with the maximum number of ten breaches occurring in Majuli.
Mahanta, who was addressing the media, strongly hinted at a �conspiracy� over the much-talked-about breach of the Hatimura dyke in Nagaon district on August 12 that caused unprecedented devastation in Koliabar and Jakhalabandha areas and said that he had moved the Chief Minister for a high-level inquiry in addition to the departmental probe already instituted.
Mahanta also revealed that a state-of-the-art flood monitoring and flood warning system would soon be put in place for effective flood forewarning in the State. The system would have two control rooms � one at the Brahmaputra Board and the other at the water resources department.
The minister said a total of 70 vulnerable points on embankments had been identified across the State and those would be addressed soon. Five breaches that had occurred during the first wave of floods had already been repaired, he added.
On the allegations that a firm owned by one of his close relatives was responsible for shoddy repair work on the Hatimura dyke for which he was given a contract worth crores of rupees, the minister said that the two firms in question were given a contract worth only Rs 14.99 lakh for surface work across a length of 3.6 km on the dyke and not for repair or strengthening of the dyke. A total of 63 contractors were given a combined contract of Rs 6 crore for similar �patchwork� atop the entire length of the dyke.
�The dyke had developed wear and tear on its surface but it did not need strengthening. The contract was for some patchwork only. We strongly feel that the breach on August 12 was a conspiracy by vested interest circles. I have urged the Chief Minister to institute a probe. I will quit if I am found to be involved in any unethical work concerning the dyke or to have betrayed the people of Kaliabor. I have been fighting for the interests of Kaliabor for the past 36 years,� he said.
Mahanta claimed that flood relief work had been going on in full swing and that the Chief Minister, ministers and MLAs, and deputy commissioners were working in close coordination.