Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti Wednesday said a new institution will replace the 34-year-old Brahmaputra Board to take up integrated water resource planning and management in the Brahmaputra basin. Bharti made this announcement after chairing the seventh and last meeting of the board’s High Powered Review Board here in the Meghalaya capital. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, and water resources ministers of the northeastern states were also present.
“I can declare with a firm conviction that today is the last meeting of the Brahmaputra Board. The next meeting will be held under a new name and concept. It (board) would reincarnate with a new name and concept in which the views of every state will be incorporated,” Bharti told journalists. The board, which was constituted with a basic objective for preparation and implementation of master plans, faced criticism for its poor performance in management of flood, bank erosion and drainage congestion of the Brahmaputra Valley.
“When the board was formed, the aspirations from it were different so was the technology. We would now take suggestions from all stakeholders how to revamp the board and make it more effective with the present day aspirations of the people,” she said.
“It (board) is not a problem, it is the effectiveness. Technology is new. The approach will have to be more technical, and more practical. I am also going to take a review of the Brahmaputra Board from 1980 onwards to this day,” she said. Along with the proposed revamping of the board, Bharti said she also plans to bring her ministry on the virtual world.
“I am planning to bring my whole ministry online because it takes months to pass one scheme. Sometimes, when the problem is already over, the solution comes,” she said. She also expressed concern over floods, erosion and siltation in the rivers in the northeast. “The development of all the states in the northeast, and that will include West Bengal also, is very much dependent on rivers. So, I can understand the seriousness of the problems, which people are facing because of floods, erosion, landslides, and siltation.”
Asked about the controversial construction of big dams in the region, Bharti said: “I think this has to be dealt with the sentiments also because I know the northeast. I also have the same kind of temperament and characteristic which Assam and the northeast have. It is not only the economic or technical sides, sentiments are also in it, and the power ministry is taking its view.”
On cleaning of the Brahmaputra, Bharti said that since the Ganga and the Brahmaputra have the same source of origin and cleaning work on the Ganga has begun, the Ganga cleaning project would have its impact on the Brahmaputra as well. “The Brahmaputra is the elder brother of the Ganga and has its origin at Mansarovar. So the Ganga cleaning project would have its impact on it. Nonetheless, the Ganga cleaning model would be replicated on many rivers of the country,” she said. (IANS)