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Anti-erosion measures, dredging remain unimplemented

SILCHAR, July 7: With the onset of monsoon and the rising water level ofrivers across Cachar district in the wake of incessant rains have created sense of fear and panic among the residents of villages which are threatened by erosions. Many villagesas reported earlier have been either washed away or swallowed up substantially by the surging and gushing river waters. The panic is all the more heightened due to the apathy of the Water Resources Department to carry on effective protection measures along the entire embankment system of the district.
It is to be recollected that after the deluge of 2004, 74 severe breaches were identified by the department. It was then made public about the various schemes and projects mooted in order to strengthen the embankments and to adopt effective anti-erosion measures. The schemes included not only the strengthening of dykes and their protection but also the removal of drainage congestion as well as desiltation of Barak and its tributaries.
Questions have been repeated since then about the measures undertaken to plug the breaches with top priority.But, subsequent flooding of rivers have exposed the anomalies in the implementation of anti-erosion measures. Nothing at the same time is known about the plan for renovation and modernization of all defective sluice gates. After the floods of 2004, the Water Resources Department was to deploy machinery along with amphibian multi dredger to have effective desiltation and resectioning of the drainage channels and tributaries.
Though the Inland Waterways Authority of India and Ministry of Surface Transport planned to develop the waterways of Barak from Lakhipur to Bhaga and from there to Karimganj along Kushiara at an estimated cost of Rs 58 crore, nothing till date has been done. The project was to facilitate carrying capacity andsteady bed flow of Barak to reduce the flood and erosion problems. WRD on its agenda had scientific study and investigation for preparing an integrated management project for containing erosion and moving the State Government to involve Asian Development Bank for on-the-spot study during November 2007. It also failed to take any shape.
Though the WRD submitted a project estimated at Rs 18,408.4 lakh with recommendation to constitute a task force for the schemes to be taken up between 2006-2008, nothing tangible took place on the ground. In fact, as the schemes and projects drawn up remained unimplemented, the fear looming large among the river side residents has further increased. (SentinelAssam)

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