In response to a calling attention motion in the Assam Legislative Assembly on Monday, Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta said his department will only undertake “corrective dredging” measures on the Brahmaputra river for obviation of silt and to ensure the proper flow of water for erosion prevention. These measures were recommended by an expert committee comprising noted environmentalist Dulal Goswami, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) experts, and officials of the State Water Resources Department itself as well.
Commenting on the apprehensions raised by various sections on river dredging, Mahanta said the expert committee formed by the State Government in 2016 had made certain recommendations, especially with efforts to control siltation. The Water Resources Department’s proposed dredging is based on the recommendations of the committee itself.
According to the water resources minister, the expert committee has recommended an in-depth study on the fast changing hydrological nature and course of the Brahmaputra before conducting dredging.
The water resources minister added that his department has also submitted a study report on the Brahmaputra river to India’s Central Government for dredging purposes. The Assam chief minister has sanctioned purchase of one dredger for the aforesaid purpose and the tender has been floated as well.
Mahanta further added that the Inland Waterways Authority of India has a pact with the State Inland Water Transport Department for dredging the Brahmaputra to ensure safe plying of vehicles as the river is used as National Waterway 2.