New Delhi, November 5: Effective tackling of the perennial problem of flood and erosion in Assam valley due to the mighty Brahmaputra River is only possible through global efforts and with use of suitable modern technology.
A host of distinguished experts including some from IITs and Indian Institute Science (IISC), Bangalore, while participating in a seminar on “Flood and Erosion of Brahmaputra” held here as part of North East Festival being here, were in agreement that the complex nature Brahmaputra River and its international status demanded a holistic approach with engagement of best brains in the world for finding a solution to the problem of flood and erosion posed by the river.
The seminar was initiated by Assam Water Resources department and held in presence of the minister of the department Keshab Mahanta at the conference hall of Indira Gandhi Centre for Arts (IGNCA) here on Saturday.
“We have to create a situation to bring in best brains on the globe to treat flood and erosion problem of Brahmaputra as a global challenge and find sustainable and lasting solution. It is a challenge to expertise available in the country. Brahmaputra River has to be a global heritage destination,” said Professor Chandan Mahanta of the IIT, Guwahati.
“The predicament is that we don’t know the river properly because we haven’t adopted a holistic approach to tackle it. The fire-fighting approach adopted so far to tackle the problem hasn’t helped at all. Dredging Corporation of India should consult stakeholders and experts before embarking on dredging of the river with World Bank fund,” Prof. Mahanta commented.
Professor Arup Sharma of the IIT, Guwahati observed that the flood and erosion problem of Brahmaputra River had been intensified due to prevalence of highest water resources potential and lowest utilization percentage and it might further increase due to impact of climate change and high temporal variation. He underlined the need to conservation of soil through effective water shed management, setting up of multi-purpose storage reservoirs upstream the course of the river for augmenting seasonal flow, optimal ecological management practice for mitigating the problem. And for that to happen, he said, coordination among all the Northeastern states was a must.
Noted columnist and human rights champion Sanjoy Hazarika who has worked extensively on Brahmaputra River and basin people’s life commented that the approach to mitigate flood and erosion must not focused only on controlling the river which at the same time must be allowed to live. He did not approve damming and embanking of the river as it would be detrimental to the natural flow of the river. “Brahmaputra is an international river and tackling it only in Assam will hardly serve the purpose,” Hazarika said.
Professor M S Mohan Kumar of IISC, Bangalore prescribed extensive use of modern science and technology to collect abundant data of Brahmaputra River and its fluid dynamics to understand it better before taking up holistic measures to mitigate the problem of flood and erosion. He suggested mathematical modeling of Brahmaputra, controlling tributaries and flow of sediments to the main channel, construction of mini/multi-purpose dams for irrigation and power generation, studying the geology related to the river. He pledged IISC’s participation, if required, in efforts to mitigate flood and erosion due to Brahmaputra.
Professor Nayan Sharma of IIT, Rookee dealt with possibility of use of several low-cost models to tackle Brahmaputra’s flood and erosion problem while the Director of National Institute of Hydrology, Rookee, Prof R D Singh gave an elaborate presentation on how to go about in a holistic way to deal with the problem. He underlined the need for integrated flood management.
Secretary of Assam’s Water Resources Department, P Changkakoti said a model in the line of Makong River Commission was required to deal with Brahmaputra flood and erosion in a holistic manner. Chief engineer of Brahmaputra Board, Dhrubajyoti Borgohain also rooted for an holistic approach instead of fire-fighting measures which haven’t helped much in deal with the problem.
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