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‘Will tackle Assam flood, erosion probs on attacking mode’

Statesman News Service |

Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sanjeev Kumar Balyan on Wednesday said the recurring flood and erosion problems of Assam will be tackled in an "attacking mode".

"So far we have been in a defensive mode in tackling the flood and erosion problem of Assam. But, from now on we will go for an attacking mode," Balyan said at a press meet here.

For this and construction of embankments, 66 projects have been submitted by the state government to the Centre requiring Rs.10,000 crore, he said.

Stating that the Centre has asked the Assam government to sort out the projects according to priority, Balyan said the allocation would be made in a phased manner.

A fund Rs.1,500 crore lying with the World Bank, Rs.367 crore with Asian Development Bank and Rs.400 crore with the Union DoNER ministry could be utilised for flood and erosion control, he said adding NABARD could also be approached for loans with the Assam government chipping in with their own contributions.

The Union Minister said Assam has lost four lakh hectares of its land to erosion.

Pointing that out only 10 per cent of agricultural land in Assam is irrigated, Balyan wanted more land to be included so that farmers go for multi-cropping with incentives such as solar powered tube wells provided to them.

Speaking about three irrigation schemes started in the 1980s remaining incomplete till now, he said funds would be released by this month for their completion by March next year.

The three projects were the Rs.567 crore river Dhansiri scheme for irrigating 83,000 hectares, Rs.309 crore river Champaboti scheme for 16,581 hectares and Rs.157 crore Borolia river scheme for 13,562 hectares.

Speaking about the Brahmaputra, Balyan said there was a consensus that a study should be undertaken to understand the river and come up with long lasting solutions for the recurring floods and erosion problems caused by it.

Assam and central government officials with experts could also work together for resolving the problem, he said.

On Majuli, considered Asia’s largest river island in the Brahmaputra, Balyan said the DoNER Ministry would soon announce a Rs.260 crore project for tackling its flood and erosion problems.