Guwahati: Assam‘s water resources minister Pijush Hazarika on Friday directed his officials to work on a war footing before the onset of monsoons every year to mitigate the dual problem of flood and erosion.

He also urged officials and engineers of the department to put in extra efforts and hours during the rainy season as prompt action can help control the devastation of floods to a great extent.

A large part of Assam’s geographical area is flood-prone and more than one wave of flood ravage this zone almost every year.

The “works related to flood and erosion control under the Water Resource Department should begin by November and be concluded before the month of May, Hazarika said at a departmental review meeting.

A number of river embankments, which serve as a crucial flood control measure, are under the Water Resources Department and permanent work on these sites, including the construction of new ones and repairing of old or damaged ones, are generally undertaken during the non-rainy months from November to April.

The minister asked the officials to prepare and submit within seven days a list of embankments on which 1,000 km of concrete road can be constructed by the state’s public works department, as announced in this year’s state budget.

Altogether 4473.82 kilometres of embankments have been built by the department, which provide “reasonable protection” to 16.50 lakh hectares of flood-affected areas of the state. Altogether 31.05 lakh hectares or 39.58 per cent of the state’s total area is flood-prone, according to the department’s website.

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The minister said that if the officials are extra vigilant during the peak four monsoon months when the state experiences flood annually, the calamity can be controlled to a great extent.

Controlling the flood and erosion problem, a major issue for the state, rests on the officials of the department and no laxity in this aspect will be tolerated, he said, urging the engineers to be also more “socially responsible” in their duties.

Hazarika called upon all officers, engineers and contractors of the Department to work together to create a “flood-free Assam” as envisaged by the state government.



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