Silchar, Aug. 3: The state government’s water resources department and the PWD (national highways) have decided to jointly execute a Rs 62-crore river protection scheme in Panchgram, 20km west of Silchar, to prevent it from being swamped by the turbulent waters of the Barak.
The executive engineer of the PWD (national highways division), Pranab Sinha, today said a blueprint on this project was drawn up at a two-day meeting in Guwahati that concluded yesterday.
The meeting was presided over by the officials of the Border Roads Organisation under the Union ministry of transport, national highways, PWD (national highways division) and officials of the state water resources department.
Sources in the PWD said their office would devote itself to the resurfacing and construction of the 350-metre stretch of road on National Highway 6, linking Cachar district with Manipur.
At present, the road is in a bad shape following the periodic overflowing of the Barak and the water resources department is trying to protect the right side of the riverbank.
The department will place huge boulders inside the iron wire meshes along the right bank in Panchgram to strengthen the banks in the first phase to stem erosion.
In the next phase, work would be initiated to divert the flow of the Barak towards its northwest flank to ease the pressure of the river during the monsoon on its erosion-battered right bank.
Sinha said a 6km stretch on NH6 near Panchgram, the home of the Rs 484-crore paper mill of Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) would be renovated and developed after the completion of the project.
The highway stretch near this town has become derelict after being battered by floods much to the inconvenience of the people travelling and the paper mill high-ups.
Similar effects of erosion on the banks and the overflowing of the river in Panchgram had become quite regular during the past three years.
A scientific step to tackle both the erosion and the overflowing of Barak was mooted by Dispur only early this year.
Sources in Hailakandi today confirmed that this year, NH6 along Panchgram was closed twice for a few days, because of the overflowing of the river on both occasions.
The HPC had to permit rows of cars to use a road bypass through the mill to get rid of the traffic congestion.
Erosion along the banks of the Barak and Katakhal, along Katakhal town near Panchgram has sent alarm bells ringing among the people of at least a dozen villages there.
One similar erosion-battered village along the Katakhal is Berabak, where some riverside huts are on the brink of being submerged by the river. A Rs 98-lakh protection scheme on this river at Nandigram, implemented a few years ago, was unable to fight erosion, and as a result, some houses are currently clinging to the edge of the Katakhal river.