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DPR on B’putra dredging being prepared

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, April 2: State Water Resource Minister Keshab Mahanta on Monday informed the Assam Assembly that WAPCOS Ltd is currently preparing the detailed project report (DPR) to carry out the ambitious and much-awaited dredging on the Brahmaputra river as well as building express highways on both sides of the banks of the mighty river. 
WAPCOS Limited, earlier known as Water and Power Consultancy Services (India) Limited, is a consultancy organization and public sector undertaking (PSU) under the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvetion. 
Responding to a question raised by BJP MLA Ritupar Barua that the expert committee constituted by the Assam Government has already observed that dredging on the Brahmaputra is not feasible, Mahanta said a meeting between Union Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari, Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal and himself (being a State water resource minister) a few months ago had entrusted the WAPCOS Ltd to prepare the DPR on dredging on the Brahmaputra. 
Mahanta said there is a difference between dredging on the Brahmaputra by the Inland Waterways Authority of India and Water Resource Department. He said the Inland Waterways Authority of India is going to dredge on the Brahmaputra to ensure smooth movement of vessels in the river. 
The minister said an expert committee headed by noted environmentalist Dulal Chandra Goswami and comprising IIT experts and officials of Water Resource department has recommended an in-depth study on fast changing hydrological ture and course of the Brahmaputra before conducting dredging. The committee feels that since the Brahmaputra has multiple channels emphasis should be laid on dredging on the main channel to clear siltation. 
Mahanta said the Water Resource Department has also submitted a study report on the Brahmaputra to the Centre for the purpose of dredging. He said the State Government has completed all formalities to procure a dredger for which the tender has already been floated. The dredger, as and when procured, can be used to clear the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.  

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Ankur Kalita