High-level meet on floods in Sept: CM

Spl Correspondent
 NEW DELHI, Aug 17 – A national-level meeting between the yet to be constituted High Level Committee and State-level experts is scheduled to be held in September to find a solution to the flood problem of the State, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal announced here today.

The Chief Minister, who had arrived in the national capital last evening to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, did not get an appointment, though he held a three-hour long discussion with senior officials drawn from 10 Central Ministries.

Later, briefing newsmen, Sonowal hailed the Prime Minister for his initiatives before announcing that a national-level meet will take place in September in Guwahati to find a solution to the flood problem.

“The Prime Minister has attached importance to resolution of the flood problem of Assam. I’m confident that in the coming days, we will be successful in finding a solution to the problem after a detailed study,” said Sonowal.

Modi had announced constitution of a high-level committee to study the flood problem in detail for finding a permanent solution. He has sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the purpose.

“He has instructed us to follow up on the issue. I met the DoNER Minister yesterday and today I met the heads of various departments. The high-level committee will hold a discussion with experts in September to find short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions to the problem,” Sonowal said.

The Prime Minister has earmarked Rs 2,000 crore, out of which Rs 1,200 crore has been kept for building infrastructure and Rs 400 crore for dredging. “In coming days, the Inland Water Authority of India, which has joined us for discussion, will conduct the dredging soon after the monsoon session,” said Sonowal.

It has been decided that the dredging of the Brahmaputra from Sadiya will be carried out from September and as many as five dredgers will be pressed into service for the mega project.

The meeting also took up the issue of the proposed construction of the Brahmaputra Expressway and decided to rope in experts and manpower of the Border Roads Organisation to build the expressway with the sand and silt dug out through dredging. The Government of Assam will submit the detailed project report for the Brahmaputra Expressway soon.

The Chief Minister requested the Brahmaputra Board to set up a unit in Majuli and upscale its manpower to tackle flood on the island as well as in the State. In the meeting, the Director General of the Brahmaputra Board informed that the Board decided to start three major projects upstream to protect the river island from the fury of flood. He also informed that a Rs 237-crore road cum embankment project would soon be started in the southern bank of Majuli, which would act as a deterrent against flood-induced damages on the river island.

“Officials of at least 10 departments joined us today, including the Ministry of Finance, DoNER, Water Resources, Border Roads, Civil Aviation, Department of Expenditures, National Disaster Management Authority, NITI Aayog, NSIDCL and Brahmaputra Board, among others,” he said.

“The Government of Assam has raised all issues before them and the Centre will work on the problem. We are confident that all states of the Northeast will jointly work for solution of this problem,” Sonowal said.

Source : http://assamtribune.com