EXPRESS HIGHWAY & DREDGING PROJECTS
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Feb 14: The State Water Resources department with other stakeholders has begun the survey work for the proposed Brahmaputra Express Highway along the entire length of the Brahmaputra from Sadiya in the east to Dhubri in the west, as well as for plans to dredge the bed of the mighty river along its entire stretch in the State.
The survey, which the State government has targeted to complete within two months, will decide the feasibility of the highway project and dredging of the river.
Water Resources department sources said the department will go for preparing the detailed project report (DPR) after the Central government okays the survey report.
A source said that such a survey on Brahmaputra is being conducted for the first time. “As per laid down norms, survey on the Brahmaputra river, which has been declared as tiol Waterway No-2, needs to be conducted every 4 years, but no survey was earlier carried out,” the source pointed out.
The source added that the previous Congress government did not release funds to Water Resources department to carry out survey.
Sources said that the dredging of Brahmaputra will be carried out with the help of Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) to deal with annual flooding and erosion problem in the State.
On invitation from the State government, an expert team from DCI visited the State in September last year for spot study.
As per prelimiry report submitted by the DCI team, detailed morphological and hydrological study of the river is required to be carried out to explore the possibilities for dredging the huge sediment deposits in the river.
Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal earlier stressed on an ambitious project for construction of two Express Highways along the entire length of the Brahmaputra in the State from Sadiya to Dhubri, which in turn would also help arrest river-bank erosion.
Though Brahmaputra is considered the lifeline of Assam, the full potential of the river is yet to be explored for the State’s benefit.
Sources claimed that if the proposed Express Highway project becomes a reality, it will completely change the economic scerio of Assam in all respects and accelerate overall socio-economic growth of the region. The Central government has already assured of full cooperation to this ambitious project.
Sources further said that 16 groups, comprising officials from PWD, Forest, IWT and Revenue Authority among others, and constituted by the State Water Resource department, are carrying out the survey.
Speaking to The Sentinel, State Water Resources minister Keshab Mahanta said, “This is an ambitious dream project of the Chief Minister. Such a project over river Brahmaputra has never been undertaken.”
Mahanta said that that advanced technologies such as UAV have been applied while carrying out the study. “The survey will be completed within two months. But it is a long-term project and huge investment would be required,” he added.
The Brahmaputra, one of the largest rivers in the world, covers a length of 640 km from Sadia to Dhubri.