STAFF REPORTER GUWAHATI, July 16 - Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat today said that the government is for finding long-term and permanent solution to tackle flood, for which a hydrographic survey would be done in the rivers of the State, even as the Centre has released Rs 251.55 crore as the first instalment to the Stare Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat flanked by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta at a flood review meeting in Guwahati on Tuesday. – UB Photos
“Finding a permanent solution is the need of the hour. After identifying a suitable location, a pilot project would be done to explore the feasibility of the hydrographic survey,” the Union minister told media persons here after reviewing the flood scenario in the State.
He also said the problem of flood in Assam is only aggravating since 1951, and along with the State, the issue of siltation is being felt everywhere in the country.
“The Himalayan region is the worst affected though. The region is at the receiving end of a problem which is generated somewhere else. To mitigate damage to life and property, we can also look to adopt soft measures to combat flood like increasing afforestation in the Himalayan region and prohibiting rock cutting and unauthorised mining,” he said.
On declaring flood as a national problem, Shekhawat said the Prime Minister, during his visit to the Stare, had taken cognisance of the matter and a committee headed by the chairman of the NITI Aayog has given its report on this and accordingly, works would be done on that line.
The Union minister stated that ongoing flood management projects running in support with the Centre need to be expedited and a joint team of the Brahmaputra Board and the State government officials will be constituted to review the projects on a periodical basis in the presence of the Chief Secretary of the State.
Earlier today, Shekhawat held discussions with the officers of the Central Water Commission, Brahmaputra Board and other State government agencies. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the State Water Resources Minister were also present in the review meeting.
“I am satisfied with the rescue and flood relief work undertaken by the State government and other agencies like the National Disaster Response Force,” Shekhawat stated.
“The second wave of flood is gradually receding. Once the flood is over, and based on the assessment report of the State government, a central team will visit the State to assess the extent of damage,” he said.