- April 2017: Rs 40000 crore for Dredging Brahmaputra and constructing 2 exp. highways: Govt.
- July 1, 2019: Dredging not going to happen and should not be attempted on the Brahmaputra as it carries too much of silt, Govt in RS.
The much-trumpeted dredging in the river Brahmaputra has formally come to a nought with the announcement in the Parliament by the Union water resource Minister that not only it was possible but also no attempt should also be made as the river too strong and carries too much silt.
He also iterated that the annual flood of Assam cannot be declared as a national problem as there is no law and no provision in the constitution or even government rules declaring recurring natural calamities as a national problem of the country.
His reply came during a Rajya Sabha question raised by Biswajit Daimary and Ripun Bora. The announcement of the stoppage of dredging has come to a sigh of relief to all the environmentalist as well as specialist of river Brahmaputra as all in unison opposed it and terming the whole project as too utopian.
The entire project, which also includes the construction of the Brahmaputra Expressway on both sides of the river, would cost Rs 40,000 crore.
Notably on April 4 2017, to realize such a future, a tripartite agreement for dredging the Brahmaputra was signed between the Assam government on one hand and the Indian inland waterways and national highways authorities on the other at the closing ceremony of the Namami Brahmaputra Festival in Guwahati in April.
Nitin Gadkari, India’s union minister of road transport, highways and shipping, hoped that the project would change the economic livelihoods for people in Assam, He announced that the national government would provide 400 billion rupees (USD 6.2 billion) for the construction of the ambitious Brahmaputra Express Highways on both banks of the river.
Deemed one of the largest infrastructure projects in the northeast, the 6.4 billion rupee (USD 998 million) highway will stretch 840 kilometres along both banks of the Brahmaputra between Sadiya and Dhubri. The project was found to be technically feasible by the water resource ministry which, after a preliminary survey, offered to help in the work to stabilise both banks, find sustainable solutions to flooding and erosion, and develop the waterways for navigation.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has given 98 million rupees (1.5 million) to the Inland Water Transport infrastructure development project to support its work in dredging the river to maximize its navigational potential and introducing safe, modern and economical passenger vessels and river cruisers for tourists.
But after yesterday’s announcement future of the highway are uncertain and certainly, the dredging affair was closed forever.