File Photo: A damaged embankment washed out by the flood at Lahorighat in Morigaon district of Assam

Assam has so far lost about 4.27 lakh hectares of land due to soil erosion caused by the Brahmaputra River, the state government said on July 14.

Replying to a written question of AIUDF MLA Sirajuddin Ajmal, Assam water resources minister Pijush Hazarika said in the assembly that, flood and erosion are the main disaster caused by river Brahmaputra, Barak and its tributaries. The river Brahmaputra has eroded 4.27 lakh hectares of land, which has greatly impacted the overall economic development of the region.

The minister said that, the water resources department has been implementing erosion protection schemes from time to time as per necessity at the affected sites and these schemes have yielded desired results in terms of controlling the perennial problem of erosion by different rivers.

“In 2015, the state assembly had passed a resolution for inclusion of river erosion within the guidelines of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). The state government’s revenue and disaster management department has notified erosion as a state specific disaster in 2015 and as per norms, 10 per cent of the allocated funds under the SDRF can be used for state specific disasters. The 15th Finance Commission has considered erosion as a disaster and addresses two aspects of erosion which include mitigation measures to prevent erosion and resettlement of people displaced by erosion,” Pijush Hazarika said.

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The minister further said that, for National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) 2021-26, the 15th Finance Commission recommended Rs 1000 crore under NDRF for resettlement of people affected by erosion and Rs 1500 crore under National Disaster Mitigation Fund (NDMF) separately for measures to control erosion.

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About Hemanta Kr Nath

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Hemanta Kumar Nath is a Guwahati-based journalist. He had worked with India Blooms News Service (IBNS), Meghalaya Times, Global News Network among others.

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