NEW DELHI, March 11 – The Centre has finally admitted that excessive siltation of Brahmaputra and Barak rivers was primarily reasons responsible for recurring floods in Assam.
However, the Government of Assam has stopped dredging of rivers way back in 1978 and Centre has not made any separate budgetary allocation for de-siltation of rivers to mitigate floods and erosion problems, informed Minister of State for Water Resources, Vincent H Pala in reply to an un-starred question by Biren Baishya.
Government of Assam has informed us that non-detailed study has been taken up in this regards,” Pala added.
The studies conducted by Brahmaputra Board in collaboration with Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad has identified bank-line shift erosion along Brahmaputra River in Dholla-Dibrugarh reach, Dhemaji area, Majuli Island area, Kaziranga National Park reach, stretch between Tezpur and Mangaldoi, Palasbari-Goalpara reach, downstream of Goalpara and hubris area.
Among the tributaries, bank line shift is identified on the banks of Beki, Aie, Jiadal, Jiabhareli, Puthimari and Pagladiya rivers, Pala said.
The Brahmaputra Board has prepared 44 Master Plans for the rivers in the North-East. The Master Plan for Brahmaputra River provide for treatment of upper catchment and construction of storage reservoirs for arresting silts in the river.
The Central Water Commission studied the problem of siltation of rivers and considering various aspects and the cost involved in desilting of rivers by earth moving equipment, or the dredgers, recommended that desilting operation may be carried out for improvement of carrying capacity of drainage channels down streams of the sluices at their outfall into the rivers and in up streams reaches, selectively, if absolutely essential, the Minister said.
The Government of Assam had taken up dredging of Brahmaputra river in 1977 and 1978 at Dharapur near Guwahati. But as the removal of huge quantum of silt throughout the river plains was not feasible and the dredged channels were again silted up in subsequent flood waves, the dredging activity was discontinued, the Minister revealed.