GUWAHATI, March 18 - From next year, the Brahmaputra Board will face a severe technocrat crisis.
By then, all its senior engineers, barring four, will retire. And by 2019, these four senior engineers will also retire. This will automatically reduce the Board into a defunct body and will thus affect the process of updating the masterplans it has initiated for all the rivers of the North Eastern region.
It needs mention here that the Board had prepared masterplans for all the rivers of the region in the 1980s and the 1990s and the process to update these master plans started in 2016. The retirement process of these senior engineers, around 57, started in 2016.
These senior engineers were recruited in 1982-83. Around 15 of these engineers have already retired and around 38 of them are retiring by 2018. The senior engineers will also not get any scope to train up their juniors for the purpose of updating the masterplans, said knowledgeable sources. It is worth mentioning here that in 1983, the process of recruiting engineers in the Board had come to a halt.
It is learnt that a process has now been initiated by the Union Government to recruit four engineers. Further, going by the official grapevine, a move may be initiated soon to fill up the remaining posts with engineers hired from other organisations on ‘loan basis.’ This is sure to make the Board function on an ad-hoc basis, said the sources.
By this time, the Board is implementing the Majuli protection works. It is also implementing the Mankachar Kalair Alga protection work along the Indo-Bangla border in Hatsingimari district. There, the Indo-Bangla Border Road was eroded by the Brahmaputra and construction of a road in the eroded part was started. However, for some land-related disputes, work has come to a halt there, sources said.
The Board has also not been able to take up the diversion of the Lohit river to its original course in order to check largescale erosion it has caused in the Tinsukia-Doomdooma areas, because of the delay in the Union Government’s approval for taking up the work.
The Lohit and the Dibang rivers diverted their courses and merged with the Ananta Nala, resulting in massive erosion in these areas. Though the Dibang has been diverted to its original course, the same remains to be done in the case of the Lohit river, sources said.
The Brahmaputra Board also conducted surveys and investigation for 14 multi-purpose projects, besides preparing 62 masterplans. The detailed project reports (DPRs) of five of the multi-purpose projects have been completed and handed over to the Union Power Ministry by the Centre. Four other projects were taken up by the Power Ministry while their DPRs were under preparation.
Meanwhile, the DPRs of the Noa-Dihing in Arunachal Pradesh and Kulsi along the Assam-Meghalaya border have been completed and submitted to the Union Water Resources Ministry. Survey and investigation of the Killing along the Assam-Meghalaya border, Jiadhal in Arunachal Pradesh and Simsung in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills are on, sources said.