BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Aug 12: State Water Resources Minister Keshav Mahanta in the House on Friday informed that repair of embankments would now be done on the basis of estimate approved by local MLAs and not by estimate given by contractors.
A vigilance committee would be constituted under the supervision of the deputy commissioner of each district and the committee would monitor the conditions and repair of embankments across the State, said Mahanta, adding that a mobile app would be developed through which a common citizen can take a photograph of an embankment that needs repairing or other problems related to the same and upload the photograph so that the Department concerned can take necessary steps.
The Minister said a team of all party MLAs and experts would visit outside India to study river systems in some other countries. Mahanta further informed that the State Government has taken up the issue with the Central Government for relocating the head office of the Central Water Commission (CWC) to Guwahati from Shillong.
Meanwhile, a workshop was recently held on flood and erosion in which several recommendations were made. Some of these recommendations are as follows:
1.As most of the embankments have outlived their life-span, immediate technical auditing should be carried out in respect of all the embankments of the State to determine their vulnerability and future life. The auditing should follow repairing works with new technical inputs without any delay to ensure no-breaching of any embankment in the next flood. Representatives from the surrounding communities should be involved in the repairing process to restore credibility of effectiveness of the embankments. The expertise of lIT, Guwahati should be utilized in the process of technical auditing of the embankments. The auditing of the embankments of the State should be an annual activity of AWRMI.
2. A River Disaster Mitigation Unit to map the economic-social-cultural aspects of the communities living on both the banks of the tributaries should be part of the functioning of AWRMI so that the affected people can be helped in the maximum possible ways to mitigate their stress and strain during the period they are displaced due to flood.
3. In absence of adequate data-based knowledge of the Brahmaputra basin, including its tributaries, large-scale dredging of the entire river and the tributaries is not advisable.
4. Limited and corrective dredging is recommended to be carried out without further delay, in the first phase, to reclaim the areas lost over the years all along the river banks, including the banks of the Brahmaputra, to restore cultivable lands and to promote rehabilitation. Majuli should be a major destition of corrective dredging.
5. Pilot project on any innovative concept like submerged spur, bank revetment with concrete block apron, geo-bags, etc. may be tried and tested before replicating and scaling the same for other areas, according to the situation.
6. Interstate co-ordition to be established to avoid hazard arising out of upstream development dymics affecting the river system of neighbouring states further downstream.
7. All the line departments need to be associated while taking up water resources project for proper implementation.