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Dredging of Brahmaputra a utopian idea at present: expert
Ajit Patowary
 GUWAHATI, July 25 - The idea of dredging the Brahmaputra to provide it with a deep channel and constructing all-weather four-lane roads along both its banks, using the dredged materials, for about 1,000 odd kilometres (kms) is nothing but a utopia as of now. This is the observation of a former Scientist-F of the National Institute of Hydrology, who was connected with the study of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries for a few decades. This senior hydrology expert also worked as a key scientist in the arduous exercises for preparation of the Brahmaputra Board’s Master Plans for the Brahmaputra main stem and its tributaries. He was talking to this newspaper on condition of anonymity.

Elaborating, he said that to undertake an exercise for dredging the bed of a river of the size and characteristics of the Brahmaputra, one needs a flawless mathematical model, based on which a computer simulation could be prepared.

To prepare a flawless mathematical model, one needs a huge amount of long-range data covering all the aspects of the river. And with this data base, the mathematical model could be prepared as the groundwork for simulating each and every reach of the river. These are the primary conditions for undertaking such a huge exercise having far- reaching ramifications.

But here, the ground reality is that we don’t have enough data to know the fundamentals of the Brahmaputra system, which is one of the most complex river systems on the earth. Besides, it is still geologically young and yet to attain its regime condition.

Not even a small reach of this complex river has been thoroughly studied for the purpose of dredging, which has now become a subject of popular discussions.

The discussions done at present on the issue of dredging the Brahmaputra, it appears, are mostly fraught with assumptions. Serious efforts to scientifically study this river for the purpose were never encouraged by any of the Governments either in the State, or, at the Centre. On several occasions, such efforts were made, but to no avail. This makes it obvious that there is lack of interest of the political leaders and the top bureaucrats in this matter.

“We must remember that only with the application of science, the riddles of the Brahmaputra system could be solved and science requires facts to understand the complexities of such systems,” the hydrology expert said.

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