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Dispur seeks China, Bangla aid Project to tackle floods

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  • Published 4.07.12

Guwahati, July 3: Dispur is working on an ambitious project to involve China and Bangladesh in tackling the perennial flood problem in the state.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today said he met representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) during his recent visit to US and discussed the scheme.

As the Brahmaputra originates in China and passes through Bangladesh, the involvement of the countries will be effective in mitigating floods in Assam.

“During my recent visit to The Earth Institute at Columbia University, I met UNDP representatives and discussed how countries like China and Bangladesh can be involved in tackling floods in Assam. The Earth Institute brings together the people and tools needed to address some of the world’s biggest challenges from climate change and environmental degradation. We are also thinking of conducting research on the changing character of a river like the Brahmaputra,” Gogoi told reporters here.

Gogoi’s announcement came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made an “initial ad hoc commitment” of Rs 500 crore towards flood relief in Assam.

He said more funds would be on their way after a central team that is visiting the state to assess the extent of damage caused by floods submitted its report.

Praising the Prime Minister, Gogoi said for the first the Centre has also agreed to consider erosion as a disaster and decided to allocate separate funds for relief and rehabilitation of those affected by erosion.

“For a long time I have been stressing that the problem of erosion is more dangerous than floods. Thousands of people have lost their homes and land because of erosion. The erosion-affected people are faced with a bleak future. The Prime Minister is convinced about the sufferings of the erosion-hit people and has agreed to apprise the Planning Commission to earmark separate funds to tackle the disaster,” Gogoi said.

The chief minister said his government has requested the Centre to modernise the meteorological department in the state so that it could give early warnings in case of heavy rains, which often cause floods.

The government has also demanded the setting up of a regional office of Central Water Commission in the state to adopt long term policies to effectively tackle floods, he added.

Giving an account of the damage, Gogoi said 79 persons have died in the floods so far.

The landslides have claimed 16 lives.

Nearly 21 lakh people have been affected by the current wave of floods.

The waters have submerged 2,809 villages and affected 6.57 lakh hectares.

He said the rail track has been extensively damaged by landslides in Lumding-Badarpur railway division, affecting passenger and commodity movement, and is yet to be restored.

Bijoya Chakraborty, BJP MP and former Union minister of state of water resources, criticised the Prime Minister for his brief visit to the flood affected areas in the state.

“The Prime Minister recently said he is an adopted son of Assam. If he really meant that, he would have spent more time to know about the sufferings of the flood victims of the state,” Chakraborty said.

The All India United Democratic Front also criticised the Prime Minister for announcing only Rs 500 crore for relief and rehabilitation of those affected.