Sonowal reviews flood preparedness
by Hemanta Kumar Nath, 16/05/2018, Guwahati

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday directed the Water Resources Department and other line departments to remain fully prepared to tackle the onslaught of seasonal floods as Assam has the reputation of experiencing flood due to torrential rain in the state as well as in upper reaches of its neighbours.

Reviewing the flood preparedness of the Water Resources Department in presence of its minister Keshab Mahanta at the conference room of his office in Janata Bhawan, Dispur, chief minister Sonowal took stock of the strength of the embankments that were essentially created to serve as a deterrent against flood.

The thrust of the meeting was flood management as the chief minister took note of the breaches on embankments caused by multiple waves of floods last year. It may be noted that under the present dispensation a total of 12.02 km embankments were constructed as against only 0.60 km during the last two years of the previous government in the state.

Moreover, State government during the last two years raised and strengthened 103 km of embankments. Moreover, during the same period 44 anti-erosion and town protection works were completed as against only 28 during the last two years of the previous government.

To enable the State government’s preparedness to negotiate with flood and minimise the loss caused by it, a total of 168 schemes involving Rs 345 crore were taken up including plugging of the breaches, and 158 schemes were completed so far. Chief Minister Sonowal asked Water Resources Department to complete the remaining the schemes on a war footing.

Besides, the embankments that fall under the purview of Panchayat and Rural Development, Sonowal asked the official concerned to forge synergy between P&RD, Water Resources Department and Deputy Commissioners and complete plugging of breaches with the help of the technical support of the Water Resources Department.

Chief Minister Sonowal directed the Water Resources Department to maintain the highest order of vigilance during the flood season to ensure safety in the river embankments and to store adequate flood fighting materials near vulnerable points. He also emphasised that during flood season Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department along with other line departments and district administration should keep the essential items ready to meet any exigency.

He also took stock of the status of other embankments that do not fall under the ambit of Water Resources Department and advocated for inter-departmental coordination for effective flood control measures and monitoring.Justifying the deadline that the State government has given from time to time, chief  minister Sonowal said that deadlines ensured speedy completion of the construction and repairing work which lends capacity building to flood protection measures which was never practised by the previous governments in the state. Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sanjay Lohiya, Principal Secretary to Water Resources Department Hemanta Narzary and senior officers of the State government were present at the meeting.