While Assam is reeling under high flood, is the state Water Resources Department sleeping?

Assam continues to be on edge as the flood, which is an annual calamity, has claimed 66 people till Monday and more than 50 lakh people have been affected in 32 districts.

Floods also caused 187 animals dead, including 16 rhinos, in the Kaziranga National Park.

Surprisingly, the Assam Water Resources Department is yet to wake up from the slumber.

A visit to the official website of the department https://waterresources.assam.gov.in/ is sure to surprise everyone.

Under the Information & Services category of the website, there is a section for Daily Flood Bulletin.

Also Read – Assam: 21 Hojai villages reeling under flood water; relief to victims

The section has not been updated in 2019. It carries the Daily Flood Bulletin of May to August of 2018.

It is definitely surprising as to why the Assam Water Resources Department did not bother to update the Daily Flood Bulletin this year when the state is reeling under high floods.

Rajendra Prasad Das, Secretary of the Water Resources Department said he is not aware that the Daily Flood Bulletin was not uploaded on the website this year.

“I am looking into it,” Das said, adding that it is duty of the Chief Engineer to ensure that Daily Flood Bulletin is uploaded everyday for general information of the public.

The Assam Water Resources Department is being blamed by everyone for “total failure” in implementing mitigation plans, which resulted in devastation across the state this year.  

Because of poor maintenance by the Water Resources Department, river embankments breached in more than two dozen places across the state.

The Assam Water Resources Department suffered a major humiliation on Monday when Minister of State for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria made a statement in the Parliament.  

Also Read – Assam: No report of electrocution during flood in Darrang district

Kataria said the Assam Water Resources Department had floated national tenders thrice for procurement of dredger and machinery. Still, the department could not procure machinery to dredge the Brahmaputra.  

As the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries have inadequate water holding capacity, everyone thought dredging of the river would improve the scenario.

Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha by BJP MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Kataria said the Water Resources Department has not prepared any concept paper for dredging of the Brahmaputra.

Since 2016, the Assam Water Resources Department has been trying to dredge the Brahmaputra. Several meetings were held for dredging the Brahmaputra.

Senior officials of the Dredging Corporation of India attended the meetings. In July July 2017, Assam Water Resources Minister Keshav Mahanta also had visited the headquarters of Dredging Corporation of India headquarters in Visakhapatnam.

Expert committee on Brahmaputra dredging also submitted its report in October 2017. Administrative approval for procurement of one dredger under SDRF was accorded in January 2018 for an amount of Rs 18 crore.

Still, the Assam Water Resources Department could not procure the machineries to start the dredging work.

Kataria said the Assam Water Resources Department is now trying to float a global tender.

Anirban Roy is Editor-in-Chief of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: editor@nenow.in

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