GUWAHATI, Feb 28 - In a heartening development, the Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has decided to fully fund the non-recurring component of the Rs 27.99-crore Centre for Brahmaputra Studies at the Gauhati University (GU).
The Centre has been mandated by the DoNER Ministry to emerge as the regional knowledge hub for expert inputs on comprehensive management and development of Brahmaputra and Barak basins.
The meeting of the Standing Finance Committee (SFC)/ Inter-Ministerial Committee on various projects of the North Eastern Council of the DoNER Ministry held on February 19 decided that a sanction order would be issued for the non-recurring component and an amount of Rs 10 lakh would be released against a grant of Rs 27.99 crore for floating tenders.
The SFC meeting also decided that the GU would be advised to rework the recurring cost and submit the details to the ministry at the earliest along with proposed phasing, etc.
It will be the responsibility of the head of the Study Centre, GU to gradually increase its own resources by taking up projects or through provision of paid services to various stakeholders/clients to ensure sustainability of the centre.
The committee advised GU to start the process of developing tie-ups and expert networks as well as plan fund generation at the earliest and to rope in potential funding agencies. The head of the centre will raise funds from the very first year of its inception.
It needs mention that the proposal for the centre was submitted by the NEC with an estimated total cost of Rs 37.59 crore. Prof Parag Phukan of GU made a power point presentation, giving a brief overview of the university and the context for setting up such a dedicated centre.
Giving the background of the proposal, he stated that the project was conceptualised during a meeting between DoNER Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and GU Vice Chancellor Dr Mridul Hazarika in February 2015.
The SFC meeting also observed that the study centre shall avail the services from visiting faculty and scientists on contract basis rather than recruiting permanent faculty and staff. Recurring cost as grant for initial years based on year-wise projection will be considered.
It further said the Centre for Brahmaputra Studies at Gauhati University should give advice on policy matters, act as a think-tank and strengthen cooperation and coordination among stakeholders.
All the eight NE states have to be represented at the centre as members in the governing board. There must be very strong stakeholders’ participation in the project.
Moreover, its emphasis should not be confined only to the engineering aspects. Rather the centre should explore the effective structural and non-structural measures vis-à-vis the problems of flood, erosion and sedimentation in the Brahmaputra Basin states. The centre should also study the possible bioengineering interventions along the rivers and pilot projects should be taken up for that, said the SFC.