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Bill Likely to be Introduced for Restructuring of Brahmaputra Board

Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti has said that her Ministry would likely to introduce a bill in the coming session of Parliament for the restructuring of Brahmaputra Board. The purpose is to improve its efficiency and functioning to control floods, erosion and landslides caused by the river and its tributary in the north east. The move to restructure the board into the North-East Brahmaputra River Rejuvenation Authority (NEBRRA) comes in the wake of Northeastern States expressing their dissatisfaction over the functioning of the Brahmaputra Board and sought revamping it. For this purpose a meeting of Chief Ministers from NE States will be called very soon. She was chairing the 8th meeting of High Powered Review Board on Brahmaputra River here in New Delhi.

The Minister reiterated that her ministry has same focus for Brahmaputra River as it has for River Ganga. She said the overall intention is to fast track the all-around development of the region by way of augmenting the flood control measures, enhanced power production and storage capacity building. Sushri Uma Bharti also agreed with the view of participating States that the share of funds between the North East region and Central Government should be on the ratio of 90:10 basis and not 70:30. She also assured North-Eastern States that their concerns and apprehensions will be conveyed to the Finance Ministry as well as Niti Ayog and said all out efforts will be made by her Ministry in this regard.

The Brahmaputra Board was set up by an act of Parliament – Brahmaputra Board Act, 1980 (46 of 1980). It started functioning with Headquarters at Guwahati with effect from 11th January 1982. The main objective was planning and integrated implementation of measures for control of flood and bank erosion in the Brahmaputra Valley and for matters connected therewith in association with concerned states. The jurisdiction of the Board includes the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Northern part of West Bengal.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam said his State is looking forward towards revamping of Brahmaputra Board River Rejuvenation Authority (NEBRRA) so as to arrive at comprehensive water resources development and evolve strategies and interventions for harnessing the water resources of the mighty Brahmaputra as well as ushering all round economic development of the region. The Government of Assam has received the draft document on North East Brahmaputra River Rejuvenation Authority and views of the State Government on proposed NEBRRA has already been sent to the Government of India, he added. Shri Gogoi raised concern on the vexed problem of flood and soil erosion on account of embankment cutting by fast flowing rivers in the State and emphasised the need of an expeditious sanctions for the flood management project of the State.

The Arunachal Water Resources Minister Kamlung Mosang in his addressed echoed the concern on the change of central assistance formula of 90:10 to 70:30. He said it will be appropriate that in the interest of development of North-Eastern States, the funding pattern may be maintained at a ratio of 90:10 and procedure for release of Central share should be kept as that of XIth Plan.

The meeting confirmed the minutes of the 7th meeting of High Powered Review Board held on 11th February 2015 at Shillong.

The meeting also discussed proposals for single multi-purpose storage project on Siang River instead of two stage hydro-electric projects (Upper Siang stage-I and stage-II). The Killing project at the boarder of Assam and Meghalaya was also reviewed and appropriate directions were given to concerned authority. The meeting also discussed national projects currently under way under the aegis of Brahmaputra Board viz. Kulsi Dam Project in Assam and Meghalaya and Noa-Dihing Dam Project in Arunachal Pradesh. It was informed that currently the DPRs of these project are under appraisal of Central Water Commission (CWC) for according techno-economic clearance.

The meeting also reviewed the protection of Majuli Island from flood and erosion.