Assam News – ‘Govt behaves like an ostrich’: Congress MP seeks Centre’s attention on river bank erosion along Brahmaputra

by Guwahati_City


Congress MP from Assam, Pradyut Bordoloi, spoke to Liz Mathew regarding the issue of river bank erosion along the Brahmaputra. He has sought the centre’s urgent attention on the matter.

You have raised the issue of land erosion along the banks of Brahmaputra…

Assam is perennially affected by floods and river bank erosion. However, the Government of India does not recognise river bank erosion as a calamity. Floods come twice or thrice a year and go away, but the erosion actually gobbles up large areas of cultivable land. The Centre must address this issue in totality. They should revise their perception of calamity. Assam has lost 4.4 lakh hectares of land due to land erosion.

You demanded that the issue should be put in the concurrent list

Yes, the Assam government alone cannot tackle it effectively. Calamity is handled by the Centre. The government should provide funds for addressing this issue, too.

Do you think the governments address the issue of floods just as a calamity, but do not pay attention to long term consequences?

It is not just normal land erosion that is happening in Assam. It is river bank erosion. Brahmaputra is widening every year, swallowing hundreds of hectares of land. When the riverbed gets swallowed, flood possibility also gets multiplied. So, the government should view this problem in totality. You have to do topographic surveys, take scientific measures, and you have to change the course of the river.

Should the government have state-specific approaches when it deals with issues like this?

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Of course. The central government tries to solve issues sometimes in a way that may not be suitable for a particular state at the local level. A uniform policy does not work for every state, even though many states are affected by river bank erosion. They have to have a pragmatic view… During the time of the UPA government, there was a plan — the flood management programme — by the Planning Commission. With the dismantling of the Planning Commission, the programme has also disappeared.

According to you, does the current government take the right steps to deal with environmental issues?

The government behaves like an ostrich. In the case of Assam, the entire river system is totally dependent on the rivers Brahmaputra and Barak. Brahmaputra originates from Tibet, and the Chinese government has been diverting the course of the river. As a result, the river does not get water inflow from China’s side. They are building multiple dams upstream, which has a cascading effect. All these issues should be examined scientifically, but it is not happening.





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