PMO boost to salvage Rohmoria

Guwahati, Jan. 27: With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s promise to save erosion-hit Rohmoria in Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency four years ago making no headway, the Centre has ticked off the Brahmaputra Board and Dispur after a review last week found no “visible” progress.

This was underlined by the findings and decisions after the review conducted by the DoNER ministry, monitoring the anti-erosion protection works as part of the delivery monitoring units set up by the Prime Minister’s Office, highly-placed official sources here said.

DoNER minister B.K. Handique carried out the review with officials of the board and the state water resources department in Dibrugarh last week.

The mandate of the Brahmaputra Board, a statutory body set up in 1980 by the Centre after recognising the magnitude of floods and its consequences in the Northeast, is to, among others, carry out surveys and investigations in the Brahmaputra valley. Its mandate also includes preparing the masterplan for control of floods, bank erosion and improvement of drainage.

The review has found that neither the board nor Dispur had a clear and comprehensive roadmap to resolve the issue. They appeared to be taking only ad hoc steps and lacked co-ordination.

The minister is understood to have been very unhappy over the prevailing state of affairs since due importance was not being given to the Prime Minister’s promise after his visit there in 2006.

“It was pointed out during the review that despite the lapse of four years after the Prime Minister’s visit, no visible work is seen at the project site,” the source said.

Unhappy with the progress, the meeting decided to ask the board to prepare a time-bound, comprehensive and clear roadmap for completion of the entire project, including the works to be completed by 2011 and 2012, and submit the same to all, including the DoNER ministry.

The DoNER ministry, on its part, has proposed to hold a meeting with the water resources minister at the earliest to give a much-needed boost to the project.

Worried by the growing resentment among the residents, the Centre wants the action plan as soon as possible so that it can go to the people and explain the concrete steps being taken to complete the project. Erosion has dealt a severe blow to the people of the area for over 20 years. The Flood and Erosion Resistance Struggle Forum, Dibrugarh and the Rohmoria Erosion Resistance Struggle Forum are spearheading the movement.