Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari has expressed the hope that on successful implementation of various scheme under protection of majuli island from flood and erosion there will be no more shrinkage of Majuli island and rather, it will be possible to reclaim the lost land which can be added to the main land area of Majuli with proper land management system. Laying the foundation stone of protection work of Majuli island from flood and erosion at Majuli in Assam today the Union Minister expressed the hope that the work would take off as planed and completed in two working seasons.He said Brahmaputra Board started the work to protect the island from flood and erosion in January, 2004 in various phases as per the recommendations of the Standing Committee of Experts constituted by Union Water Resources Ministry. These works involved construction and strengthening of embankments, laying of RCC porcupine screens, construction of spurs and dampeners in various locations to train the river away from the bank and also as pro-siltation measure.He said due to unprecedented floods which occurred during the monsoon in 2007, massive land erosion took place in lower Majuli. On the recommendations of the Standing Committee of Experts, Brahmaputra Board constructed and laid RCC porcupine screens and dampeners. The outcome of the works till 2007 were satisfactory and erosion could be contained in the most vulnerable reaches.
The Minister informed that from 2014 onwards, Brahmaputra Board undertook several works. Construction of four boulder spurs has been completed. Construction of the Spur No. 2 at Salmara is also nearing completion. The bank revetment have been completed. Both the tie-bunds were also completed. Construction and laying of RCC porcupine works are also mostly completed. All the five raised platforms have been handed over to the District Administration after completion. An amount of Rs. 189.07 crore has been incurred till November, 2017 on these projects.Shri Gadkari said the works implemented by Brahmaputra Board has reversed the trend from erosion to siltation. The area of land mass of Majuli Island, which was 502.21 sq km in 2004 stood at 524.29 sq km as in November, 2016 as per satellite imagery. He said under the present Scheme Brahmaputra Board executes the scheme as recommended by a team of Experts – called the Technical Advisory Committee of Brahmaputra Board constituted by Union Water Resources Ministry. The Committee extensively toured the island in March, 2017 and suggested measures for further implementation. Based on these suggestions, Brahmaputra Board prepared a DPR for an amount of Rs.233.54 crore. Shri Gadkari said “ My Ministry cleared the project and it is my pleasure to mention here that the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MoDONER) has agreed to allocate an amount of Rs.207 crore and the balance amount is to be funded by Brahmaputra Board”.
The Minister informed that the scheme envisages four components, construction of geo-bag bank revetment works for a total length of 27 km. in the vulnerable reaches of Majuli, construction of RCC porcupine screens at 41 locations from, construction of a Pilot Channel and construction of a sluice at Birinabari.Shri Nitin Gadkari also laid the foundation stone of the Brahmaputra Board office complex at Majuli to be constructed at an estimated cost of 40 crore. The Minister thanked the Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal who was also present on the occasion for all out cooperation and assistance received from Govt. of Assam.Majuli Island is surrounded by the mighty Brahmaputra River on the south, Kherkatia Suti, Luit Suti and Subansiri Rivers on the North and is susceptible to both floods and erosion almost every year. The geographical area of Majuli Island was 733.79 sq. km. in the year 1914 as per the Survey of India Map. The twin problems of flood and erosion reduced the geographical area to 502.21 sq km in 2004. In the sixties, Government of Assam constructed embankment to protect the island from floods, however, these embankments could offer marginal protection from flood as breaches occurred in many places. Erosion continued every year eating away precious land mass and shrinking the area of the island. On the request of Government of Assam, Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry entrusted the Brahmaputra Board the task of ‘Protection of Majuli Island from Flood and Erosion’ in 2003.