LAKHIMPUR, May 1: All Assam Water Resources Contractors’ Association (AAWRCA) expressed strong reaction over the much-hyped deadline of April 30 fixed by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal with regard to completion of the embankment construction and repair works of the State to avert flood havoc in the forthcoming monsoon season. “The Chief Minister should not fix the deadline only for the contractors concerned regarding the completion of the embankment construction and repair work. He should fix it for the administrative machinery at first so that all the departments concerned with this function perform their due responsibilities on time,” stated Muhi Borgohain, the president of AAWRCA, at a press meet held at North Lakhimpur Press Club on Tuesday.
Borgohain, in connection with the subject, demanded the Chief Minister to fix the deadlines for the departments concerned, including State and District Disaster Management Authority (SDMA and DDMA), Revenue and Finance and Water Resources departments regarding the approval of projects, invitation of tender, granting of work order and release of funds on time. He also demanded release of fund as soon as the construction of the project was completed without keeping it pending till March 31. He stated that the most of the approvals for the embankment construction projects and granting of work order were completed in the third week of March only, without allowing adequate time to the contractors to implement them within the deadline fixed by the Chief Minister.
On the other hand, the president of the association disclosed the list of the projects covered within the Chief Minister’s deadline which was published by the Water Resource Department. As per the list, the completion of only 26 embankments which were breached last year in the State was targeted within April 30. It reveals that the State Government planned to mitigate the flood problem of the State in this year by plugging only 26 embankment breaches under State Disaster Rehabilitation Fund (SDRF). Out of these breaches, three lie in Karimganj (Shingla and Longai), one in Hailakandi (Katakhal), one in Udalguri (Golondi), one in Baska (Mora Pagladiya), one in Nalbari (Nadla Drainage Channel), one in Mangaldai (Noanadi), one in Barpeta (Brahmaputra), two in Nagaon (Brahmaputra), one in Morigaon(Brahmaputra), three in Lakhimpur(Ranganadi and Brahmaputra), one in Dhemaji(Kumatiya) and 10 in Majuli (Subansiri and Brahmaputra).
Only the earth work has been completed of these targeted projects. The installation of geo-mate and the erosion protection measures are yet to be executed. The AAWRCA informed in the press meet that a total of 97 projects were being implemented under the said scheme in the State. Significantly, the Chief Minister and his government did not fix any deadline for the completion of other 71 projects out of the 97, excluding the 26, being implemented under the first phase of SDRF in various parts of the State with a fund amounting to Rs 250 crore.
Moreover, the government is still unable to invite tender for the implementation of another 108 projects taken up in the second phase of SDRF. Further, the implementation of 36 projects with a fund of Rs. 75 crore under State Plan (SOPD) has not started till date. Similarly, 48 projects with fund amounting to Rs. 200 crore under NABARD have also remained incomplete. The organization also asked the government why these projects could not be completed.