GUWAHATI, June 28 � Under fire from all quarters over the calamitous flood which swept through the city leaving a trail of death and devastation, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today attempted damage control, promising stern steps against encroachments, besides forming a special Hill and Water Bodies Protection Force.
Gogoi also said the government will soon release a White Paper on Guwahati development, detailing works carried out by consultants over the years, the action taken on reports made by consultants, amount spent on consultancies and details of various civic projects undertaken in the city.
Addressing the media, Gogoi admitted lapses and said flood has been taken up as a challenge by the administration to deal with in future.
�We have adopted a two-pronged strategy of immediate action plan and formulating a long-term policy,� he said, adding that, �maybe our drainage system is not correct�.
�We have ordered removal of all blockages. We have to address the issue of encroachment on hilly areas and water bodies. So we will form a Hill and Water Bodies Protection Force. We had earlier identified 376 vulnerable landslide locations and given out warnings but people continued to build houses in such places,� said the Chief Minister.
He also said that steps will be taken to amend the relevant acts to allow eviction from hills and water bodies of people who even hold�miyadi patta.
�We have no option but to evacuate them and rehabilitate them in other places,� Gogoi said.
Regarding relief operations to the flood-affected people in the city, Gogoi said the NDRF and SDRF are in action and rubber boats, drinking water, medical camps and food have been provided and efforts are on to restore electricity supplies in all localities.
He sought the Centre�s assistance for formulation and implementation of a long-term plan to deal with flood and erosion.
�We want the Centre to take up the lead in the effort for the reclamation of the Brahmaputra. Why can�t the Centre spend Rs 10,000 crore on it?� he argued.
Asked about the 2010 report of IIT Guwahati on flood and erosion, Gogoi said, �I do not know. Everything is not handed over to me. Maybe they submitted the report to the water resources department. I will find out.�
Regarding the �disappearance� of Minister for Guwahati Development Ajanta Neog from the scene during the catastrophe which hit the city, he said, �I do not know who is where! I am doing my work� Where is the Guwahati MP?�