NEW DELHI, Aug 4: Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal today said that the 5,000 km embankments in Assam serve as a bulwark to its rural economy, and recurring breaches on embankments pose danger to it.
In a crucial meeting with the Union minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvetion Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in New Delhi today, Chief Minister Sonowal apprised him of the extent of devastation caused by the recent wave of floods in the State.
Sonowal drew the attention of the Union Water Resources minister that a major chunk of existing embankments in Assam are past their utility and needs immediate repair and facelift, if these are to be useful as a deterrent to flood and erosion.
Chief Minister Sonowal also sought the Centre’s assistance to shore up embankments, and said that a strong network of embankments holds the key to the State’s GDP growth. Drawing Dr Balyan’s attention, Sonowal also demanded a special grant from the Centre for flood and erosion magement in the State.
The Chief Minister also stressed upon the need of dredging the Brahmaputra bed for making the river fit for vigation throughout the year. Dr Balyan agreed that rivers in Assam need to be harnessed for better flood and erosion control and river magement.
Chief Minister Sonowal, however, opined that the ministry for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvetion must organise a tiol semir involving all stakeholders and the people at large for zeroing in on a comprehensive mechanism for flood and erosion control and river magement. Dr Balyan assured all help and agreed to organise a semir in Guwahati. He will also visit Assam this month to assess the flood and erosion situation here.
In the meeting, Sonowal gave Dr Balyan an overview of flood damage in terms of human lives, property, agriculture and livestock lost. The Assam CM also handed over a list of 66 schemes related to water resources and requested Centre’s assistance for their expeditious implementation in the State.