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Assam demands Rs 3,460 cr for repairing embankments

by   Jul 9, 2012 22:00 IST

#Assam   #Flood   #NewsTracker  

Guwahati: Fearing more floods in the state, Assam on Monday demanded Rs 3,460 crore from the Central government to raise and strengthen embankments across the state.

Water Resource Minister Rajib Lochan Pegu said on Monday the state government has also asked for a special package, instead of small packages doled out every year, to contain the annual floods problem of the state.

Flood threat. Reuters

"We have learnt from the last years floods that another two waves of floods might hit the state. If we can raise and strengthen the existing embankments, there would be less probability for fresh floods," said the minister.

There are a total of 449 embankments in Assam covering an area of about 4,459 km of stretch. While the state water resource department had already identified 950 km of embankments as extremely vulnerable, about 2,390 km stretch of the total length of embankments have been identified as vulnerable, Pegu said.

The minister said that only 1,119 km stretch of the embankments have been identified under reasonably safe category.

The minister further revealed that the current floods have breached a total of 53 embankments across the state including nine in Brahmaputra river, one in Barak river and 43 in various tributaries.

"We have observed that the tributaries carry lots of silts during floods and it leads to rising of river beds. But simultaneously, we have not been able to raise the embankments," he said.

The government has also prioritised dredging of all the rivers in the state apart from raising and strengthening of embankments to deal with the flood situations.

"We have already started work on raising and strengthening of 360 km of extreme vulnerable stretches of the embankments," Pegu said.

The minister further informed that the state government had also urged the Central government to release the funds early for Assam so that work could be taken up early.

In Assam and other parts of the northeast, we get less working days due to weather-from November to April. But we receive the funds in the months of January, he said.

This leads to only three months of working days for the department in Assam. So, the work is implemented at a slow pace in the state, he said.

The state government had appealed to the Central government to release the funds in October so that at least six months of working days could be achieved.

IANS