BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, July 28: Why have successive Assam governments so far failed to minimize the perennial flood problem in the State in last 15 years? There could be many answers to this question. Forget big talk about implementation of other technologically advanced and long-term measures replacing existing/old ones to tackle floods in the State.
State governments have so far utterly neglected the maintence or reconstruction of worn-out embankments, which should be the most important and widely practiced flood-control measure. It would not have been very difficult for governments to minimize the impact of annual floods in Assam, if the Water Resources department had taken serious and timely initiatives to repair worn-out embankments or build new ones in different flood-prone areas.
In many areas of the State, floods occur in the rainy season due to breaches in embankments. Most of the embankments in Assam have already crossed their endurance limit of 25 years and many embankments are also weak due to poor construction work.
According to records, 950 km of embankments are extremely vulnerable in the State, 2,390 km embankments are vulnerable and only 1,119 km embankments are reasobly safe. A major portion of embankments were built on or before 1980.
If the Government of India doesn’t provide a mega package to strengthen embankments across the State, it will be really difficult for Dispur to tackle the flood problem. “Rs 1,200 crore is yet to be released by the Central government for fighting floods in Assam, despite repeated appeals by State governments, which is really unfortute,” lamented informed sources.