Guwahati, Tuesday, August 28, 2012
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Move to restructure Brahmaputra Board flayed
AJIT PATOWARY
 GUWAHATI, Aug 27 – The sagacity of the Centre’s attempt at restructuring the Brahmaputra Board under the name and style of the Brahmaputra River Valley Authority has been questioned by the experts here.

Speaking to The Assam Tribune on condition of anonymity, the experts said the proposal of the Centre prepared for the purpose is silent on the need to involve China, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, in the bid to manage the entire Brahmaputra river system. Moreover, the Centre has not made it clear as to how it is going to involve the States concerned in formulating the policies of the proposed organisation.

Because of the lack of the above two components, particularly the one related to the involvement of the people of the States concerned, in the approach of the Government, the projects prepared by the Brahmaputra Board could not be materialized. These projects were then reduced into sheer power projects.

The Brahmaputra Board failed to serve the basic purpose of controlling flood. Retaining the present nature of its organisation may not serve the purpose in the future too.

It is the need of the hour to involve the States concerned in constituting the new body. Emphasis should be laid on assessing their opinion on the common acceptability of the body. The entire process should be conducted in a transparent manner.

The Centre has said it would go for the new body with the aim to implement the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) projects for flood control. But it is to be assessed seriously as to how far it will be possible technically to implement IWRM projects with the young and fragile Eastern Himalayas and the seismic vulnerability of NE in the background.

The Centre’s proposal prepared for the purpose reveals that the new body is sought to be formed as an autonomous one. Implications of constituting any autonomous authority in matters of water resources management may be such that it may infringe upon the rights of the States over their water resources. Hence it requires a careful consideration. Again, the new body is sought to be authorised with the power to tackle the matter of groundwater too. It is a clear intrusion into a State’s subject, said the experts.

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