Guwahati, Aug 27 IANS | 3 months ago

Assam will set up an authority to strengthen the existing embankments and build new ones, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said Wednesday, as the mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries continued to flow above the danger level, affecting over 12 lakh people in 16 districts.

The chief minister made the announcement following a meeting with officials of flood-hit Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts after making an aerial visit to the districts.

"The state government would constitute a Flood and Erosion Protection Authority with funding of Rs.1,000 crore on its own to strengthen the existing embankments and build new ones to replace the ones that have outlived their utility," Gogoi said.

According to the State Disaster Management Authority, 12,65,449 people have been affected in 2,093 villages in 16 districts.

The floods have forced 163,052 people to take shelter in 212 relief camps set up by the administration.

Gogoi said the new authority would be in addition to the proposed Brahmaputra Valley River Authority.

"The new authority will take up long-term anti-erosion measures including dredging of the tributaries of the Brahmaputra to minimise the impact of floods and erosion," he said.

Water Resources Minister Rajib Lochan Pegu said his department has already submitted a proposal to the central government for strengthening 4,400 km of vulnerable embankments across the state.

Over 12 lakh people have been affected in floods in 16 districts and at least 10 have died since Aug 18. In the latest incident, two people died due to floods in Lakhimpur and Morigaon districts Tuesday.

Many rivers, including the Brahmaputra and its tributaries, continue to flow above the danger level, officials said.

In Lakhimpur district, flood waters have affected 240 villages and about 1.14 lakh people. Four people have died due to floods in the district, where over 7,800 hectares of cropland have been affected, the Chief Ministers' Office said in a statement Wednesday.

In the worst-hit Dhemaji district, 3.2 lakh people have been affected in 718 villages. Three people have died so far, and around 44,000 hectares of cropland have been hit.

The chief minister directed officials to speed up relief and rehabilitation measures on a war-footing.

Gogoi asked them to keep sufficient stocks of medicine to prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases and asked the administration to procure crop seeds to be distributed among the affected farmers after the floods.

(Posted on 27-08-2014)

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