Of the 31 schemes costing Rs 1,211.7 crore allocated in 2014-15, not a single scheme completed by March 31 this year
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 28: There is a saying in Assamese: Chor gole buddhi, boroxun gole jaapi (laying a trap after the thief has escaped, wearing a jaapi after the rains have stopped). As far as the State Water Resources department is concerned, this seems to be an apt saying — with several of its schemes proceeding at a sil’s pace long after floods come, destroy and sweep away everything, and then recede.
Given its dismal record, it is hardly surprising that the Water Resources department is so tardy in implementing its schemes. But in a perennially flood and erosion affected State, its implementation of schemes under the Flood Magement Programme (FMP) for the year 2014-15 is shocking, to say the least. The works under these schemes involve a range of anti-erosion measures, dyke strengthening and river channelisation.
Of the 31 schemes under FMP approved by the Central government for a total estimated cost of Rs 1,211.7 crore for last fiscal, not a single scheme has been completed until 31 March this year. There are 13 schemes in which the progress is barely 20 per cent or less. Of these 13 schemes lagging behind so woefully, 3 schemes are being implemented in Tezpur division, 2 schemes each in Dhemaji and Silchar divisions, and one scheme each in Badarpur, Dhokuakho and Upper Assam Investigation divisions.
In particular, the 3 schemes under FMP in Tezpur division have not got off the ground at all. The progress of works in all these schemes is zero per cent. Meanwhile, inhabitants in riverine areas in Tezpur division have not only borne the brunt of floods in 2014-15, but in the current year as well.
Sources in the Water Resources department have pointed out that works in the FMP schemes are not completed before the rains in the State begin in April, for the simple reason that the works are allotted very late in the year. But it has been alleged that a section of corrupt officials of the Water Resources department, operating hand-in-glove with unscrupulous contractors, take advantage of flood magement works getting damaged or washed away by early floods in April-May. So even as they pocket the funds, the people supposed to be protected from floods by such schemes, are betrayed and left in the lurch year after year.