| Water resources minister Rajib Lochan Pegu |
Jorhat, Nov. 21: Dispur has decided to take a leaf out of China’s book regarding river management as well as flood and erosion control methods.
A team of experts from the water resources department will visit the neighbouring country to study the process. The department has also engaged Friedrich Schiller University, Jena (Germany) and IIT Roorkee to check erosion and reclaim land lost to erosion. A pilot project is being initiated at two places in the state — Pandu (Guwahati) and Tezpur (Sonitpur district).
On the sidelines of an official function held here today, water resources minister Rajib Lochan Pegu told reporters that as part of the long-term measures needed to contain floods and erosion, especially by the Brahmaputra, the state government has decided to adopt a holistic, multi-pronged approach involving neighbouring states and nations.
Pegu inaugurated the new divisional office of the department at Rajabari here, as a new building was constructed to house the office as the earlier one became unsuitable. The 452 square metre building has been constructed at a cost of Rs 52 lakh.
“China has succeeded in taming several rivers and is considered a pioneer in methods adopted for management of its rivers. Experts have been able to contain Hwang Ho, which was once called the ‘river of sorrow’ for causing extensive damage through floods,” the minister said.
He said the government has decided to send a team (headed by him) to China early next year to know the methodologies and techniques adopted in that country to check nature’s fury.
He said with the Brahmaputra flowing down from Tibet (under China) to India through Arunachal and then reaching Assam, the measures undertaken to tame rivers by the Chinese are expected to benefit Assam.
The MLA from Majuli — one of the worst affected areas by floods and erosion in the state — said the Chinese were already co-operating in sharing hydrology information on trans-boundary rivers.
He said renewal of the agreement (signed five years ago) in May this year in New Delhi, during Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s visit, on sharing of flood data during monsoon was benefiting the state. Under the pact China was providing India with hydrological data of the Brahmaputra in the rainy (flood) season.
Pegu said last year a team from the department had visited Bangladesh for a similar purpose and had learned about methodologies adopted by the country to channelise the Jamuna for mitigating erosion.
The minister also disclosed that groundwork of a pilot project to check erosion and reclaim land lost because of erosion has been initiated jointly by Jena University and IIT Roorkee and within next year the outcome could be known.
Chief engineer (water resources department) Haren Kakati said the project would be completed at a cost of Rs 2.66 crore. He added that if the project succeeds, then it could be replicated in areas worst hit by erosion in Assam.