Every year the state of Assam is devastated by floods. Among the many solutions to tackle the recurrent problem of flooding in a sustained manner, dredging is one.
In the past few years, experts from the Water Resources Information System of India believe, the catchment area of the Brahmaputra on the Indian side is 1,94,413 sq km. Dredging would be of no use unless there is a plan to deal with this massive catchment area. Even this is not the permanent solution.
As the flood season is nearby, new Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma after forming the new government directed all the deputy commissioners of all the districts to adopt a “3-R strategy” of rescue, relief and rehabilitation for people in flood-prone areas.
The DCs were also asked to create task forces to facilitate assessing of damage caused by flood and decide on the compensation to be given to the affected people.
A large part of Assam’s geographical area is flood-prone and more than one wave of such natural disaster ravages this zone almost every year.
Meanwhile, five years ago, during the Assembly polls in Assam, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised the people of the state that it will take appropriate measures to tackle flood and erosion problems in the state. The BJP has now again promised to make the state free from floods.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, in 2020, more than 57 lakh people of 30 districts were affected and 120 people died in flood in the state. The 2016 floods in the Brahmaputra killed over 64 people and displaced over 45 lakh. In 2017, the floods killed 160 people and displaced over 56 lakh.
Meanwhile, In the 1970s, two attempts were undertaken to dredge the Brahmaputra, but they failed as the silt collected again. It is important to understand the nature of sediment transport in the Brahmaputra to achieve a permanent solution.