Brahmaputra Board ratifies Rs 237 crore project to protect Majuli from flood and erosion

New Delhi, January 1, 2018

The 9th meeting of the High Powered Review Board of Brahmaputra Board has ratified a Rs 237 crore project for the protection of Majuli Island in Assam from flood and erosion.
The meeting, held at Borgos, Kaziranga in Assam on December 30, was chaired by Union Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari who also launched ‘Brahma-ID’, a Mathematical Model Study prepared by IIT, Guwahati. The Rs 3 crore project is sponsored by the Brahmaputra Board, an official press release said.
Among the key points discussed and agreed upon during the meeting included the review board’s approval of the restructuring of Brahmaputra Board. The meeting advised the board that the funds should be largely spent for works and limit the money spent for establishment costs, including salary and wages.
The HPRB approved the establishment of Brahmaputra Board office complex in Majuli and handing over the works to NPCC, a public sector undertaking (PSU) of the Ministry, the release said.
It stated that the preparation of Master Plans, Feasibility Reports and DPRs for development of the complete Brahmaputra basin be also given to WAPCOS, a PSU under the Ministry.
It suggested the creation of a Centre for Brahmaputra Studies in IIT, Guwahati covering multi-disciplinary aspects of hydrology, environment, inland waterways, agriculture and sociology.
For this purpose, IIT, Guwahati will identify and earmark a land area of about four acres for development of the Centre and the Union Government will support the establishment of this Centre.
HPRB advised to take up actively afforestation and catchment area treatment in the upper riparian states to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation. For this purpose, the Ministry will prepare a proposal through the Brahmaputra Board and take it up with the Environment Ministry for consideration and release funds through CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority).
The Brahmaputra Board was directed to share the Master Plans for all the river basins with party states by March 31, 2018.
The Board was also asked to constitute an Advisory Board in all the basin states. The Advisory Board should include NGOs, political leaders and officials of the Water Resources Department so that they may become active stakeholders in the management of the Brahmaputra basin.
Recognizing the need among basin states to build their capacity of Water Resources Departments, the HPRB advised the Brahmaputra Board and the Central Water Commission to conduct regional workshops in every basin state. It would enable the states to build capacity especially in the field of preparation of Master Plans, Feasibility Reports and Detailed Project Reports (DPRs), the release said.
The Brahmaputra river offers great opportunities for economic growth and employment generation in the NE States through the development of inland waterways, tourism, industry, agriculture and allied sectors.
For this purpose, comprehensive DPRs need to be developed for integrated water management. These DPRs should be bankable which can be taken up for external funding with International Agencies like World Bank, JICA, and ADB, the meeting felt.
The HPRB formed a committee comprising Chairman, Brahmaputra Board, Chief Secretary, Assam and Chief Secretary, Arunachal Pradesh to determine the terms of reference for this purpose.
The HPRB further directed that this work of comprehensive integrated master plan be assigned to WAPCOS, a PSU of Ministry, who may partner with leading global organizations working in the field of integrated water management.
Mr Gadkari expressed the hope that the Brahmaputra Board will turn these challenges of flood, erosion and sedimentation of the river into opportunities for great economic growth with the cooperation of all stakeholders. He summed up the speech with his vision for the development of Brahmaputra as a great bridge to link India with South East Asia.
The meeting was also attended by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta, Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, besides Manipur Water Resources Minister Letpao Hopkip and senior officers from the basin states.
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