GUWAHATI, March 29 - A day after facing the Chief Minister’s ire, the State water resources department today cited reasons like delay in getting administrative approval and clearances from the forest department, besides court cases for the slow progress in embankment repair works.
The department, however, claimed that 98 proposals on which work is currently on will be completed within April 30 next. In the first phase, the revenue and disaster management department had recommended 98 proposals and an additional 70 in the second phase.
Work orders for the 98 proposals relating to closing of 33 breaches and other restoration works in the first phase were given in January last.
According to Water Resources Principal Secretary Hemanta Narzary, only nine of the 98 schemes have been completed so far. In 35 schemes, work progress is less than 50 per cent.
“In these 35 schemes, there had been issues like land problems. The forest department initially did not allow land cutting. In some, there were court cases,” he said.
In the second phase, of the 70 schemes proposed, only 17 have got administrative approval so far. The second phase schemes include three breaches of 1.855 km length, besides repair work on 79.9 km and anti-erosion work in a stretch of 25.9 km.
According to the Principal Secretary, all works which were above Rs 20 lakh were awarded through e-tendering. “People took time to adapt to the new digital method, another reason for the delay,” he said.
During last year’s floods, 36 breaches had occurred in the embankments. Of these, 33 are being closed in the first phase of the restoration work.
The water resources department looks after 4,474 km of embankments in the State.
This year, a record amount of Rs 345.56 crore – all-time highest in a single financial year – had been released under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for carrying out strengthening and repairing of embankments and erosion protection works.