A study of the Assam part of the Brahmaputra was last conducted in 1996
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, July 22: The main reason for the perennial flood and land erosion problems in Assam is the Brahmaputra but the State Government has failed to conduct a detailed study of the behaviour of the river since 1996 due to fund crunch. A study of the Assam part of the Brahmaputra was last conducted in 1996.
The Water Resource Department complaints that it is unable to conduct the river study due to shortage of fund.
Merely building embankments along the Brahmaputra’s bank could not protect Assam’s landmass from the fury of the river. To deal with the twin problems of flood and erosion, a detailed study of the behaviour of the river is required and the study is the only way through which some solutions could be found.
The Brahmaputra, for decades, has destroyed the landscape of Assam at will. Thanks to the lack of initiative on the part of the State Government which has not bothered about conducting a detailed study of the Brahmaputra in the last fifteen years.
To find a permanent solution to Assam’s flood and erosion problems, the State Assembly recently took a resolution to declare flood and erosion problems in the State as “national problem”.
The amount of devastation caused by the Brahmaputra in these years can easily be gauged from the shrinking of the landmass of Majuli, world’s largest river island and seat of Assam’s Vaishnavite culture and Assamese identity. Once a 1,226 square km island, Majuli has declined to a mere 576 square km in a little under thirty years due to massive erosion by the Brahmaputra. The official records say that the State is losing about 8,000 hectares of landmass every year due to erosion by the Brahmaputra.
As per the study of the Brahmaputra in 1996, the width of the river is 22 km stretching from Kharupetia on the north bank to Dhing and Lahorighat on the south bank, which is highest in the State. The average width of the river in the Assam part is 10 km, as per the study.
The study further stated that the original course of the river has changed in the State over the years mainly due to earthquakes, flood, massive siltation and other geological reasons. “The small and big riverine islands in the Brahmaputra are also responsible for the change of its course,” stated the study.
The Tarun Gogoi led Congress government which has faced several devastating floods since it came to power in 2001 should wake up now. It should conduct a detailed study of the Assam part of the Brahmaputra. Generally, the study of the Brahmaputra should be conducted by the State Water Resource Department every four years. The Investigation Division of the Water Resource Department conducts such study in the State.
The last study of the Brahmaputra in Assam had cost the State’s exchequer about Rs 4 crore and a similar study could now cost the State’s exchequer about Rs 8 crore.