By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, February 11: Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi appealed to Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvetion Uma Bharti to expedite the constitution of the Brahmaputra River Valley Authority and to delegate more powers to it for tackling the twin problems of flood and erosion in the State.
At a meeting held at his official residence yesterday evening, Chief Minister Gogoi, while urging the Union Minister Bharti to initiate necessary steps to expedite the constitution of the Brahmaputra River Valley Authority, pointed out that the Brahmaputra Board was uble to tackle the twin problems of flood and erosion in the State effectively. “The functioning of the Brahmaputra Board is not at all satisfactory and the Centre must accord priority towards the setting up of the Brahmaputra River Valley Authority which has been a long-standing demand of the State Government,” he added.
The Chief Minister pointed out that the problem of erosion is more serious than floods and the State’s economy that hinges on agriculture would be adversely affected if erosion continues to erode the land mass permanently. “A holistic approach has to be adopted for tackling flood and more importantly the serious problem of erosion,” he added. Gogoi also urged Bharti to sanction the flood magement schemes submitted by the State Government and to make it 90:10 funding. In the same breathe, the Chief Minister urged the Water Resources Minister to clear the Rs. 1,500 crore World Bank-funded Assam Flood and Erosion Magement Modernization Project.
Gogoi asked Bharti for inclusion of erosion as tural calamity under the tiol disaster response fund. “The demand for inclusion of erosion as a tural calamity under the tiol disaster response fund has been a long-standing demand of the State Government. The Centre must view erosion as a serious problem and bring it under the ambit of tiol disaster response fund to provide the much-needed relief to the State,” he added.
The Chief Minister also stressed inclusion of flood moderation as an important component in the construction of hydro power projects and to build storage reservoirs of adequate capacity in the upper reaches for tackling flood, generation of electricity, irrigation and other purposes. The Chief Minister urged the Water Resources Minister to involve IIT and NIT for technical vetting in implementation of Centrally-funded flood and erosion projects in the State.
Gogoi further called upon Bharti to take up flood and erosion protection measures expeditiously to protect the river island Majuli from the fury of the Brahmaputra and to push through the proposal submitted by the State Government during the UPA regime for getting the coveted UNESCO World Heritage tag for Majuli.
The Water Resources Minister assured the Chief Minister that she would look into the problems in right earnest and take up necessary steps accordingly.
The one-to-one meeting was also attended by Chief Secretary Jitesh Khosla.