Assam Flood Creates Havoc: 40K Crore Express Highway Project Gets Stuck
In the year 2017, the central government announced the first-ever express highway project in the northeast region to be built along the Brahmaputra River in Assam at an estimated investment of Rs 40,000 crore.
“Northeast is our priority. We are going to develop the first express highway of the North East in Assam along the banks of Brahmaputra. This 1,300 km-long express highway is likely to incur an investment of Rs 40,000 crore,” Nitin Gadkari had said while announcing the project.
He further said,” The land acquisition has to be done by the state. The sand the soil coming from the dredging of Brahmaputra will be utilized for construction of the road. The express highway will be axis-controlled and vehicles will be able to ply at very high speed. The Centre will dredge a stretch of 891km of the Brahmaputra River from Sadia in Upper Assam to increase navigational channels up to Chittagong port in Bangladesh.”
The Assam government had finalized the tenders for the project to execute the plan from this year. However, that was stalled due to incessant and devastating floods that caused 75 deaths and affected 39 lakh people in the 20 districts of Assam. According to the reports, the damage was caused as the water in the dams uphills was released. The encroachment of forest lands and water bodies are said to be other reasons behind the floods that ravage the state almost every year.
People of Assam are upset as the problem of the flood is an annual occurrence, yet it is being neglected by both the central and the state government from many years. This time the locals of the affected districts came out asking the government to bring long term solution.
According to an analysis by the Rashtriya Barh Ayog (RBA), 39.58 per cent of the total land area of Assam is flood-prone as the state and the other parts of the North-Eastern region fall in a seismic zone. Frequent earthquakes and landslides carry debris into the rivers which in turn rise riverbeds.