Green signal for $120m flood project- Decks cleared for ADB funds
Guwahati, Oct. 4: The decks have been cleared for approval of the $120 million ADB-funded Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program as negotiations with Assam and the Centre have been completed.
“We have completed the negotiations with the Assam government and the Government of India on the project. The Government of India has also recently approved the detailed project reports for Dibrugarh and Palasbari subprojects,” Kenichi Yokoyama, agriculture, natural resources and social services division, South Asia department, ADB, told this correspondent in an email.
The ADB board’s calendar has put October 19 as the date for approval of the project. The board calendar reflects the schedule of formal board discussions and is a clear indication that the loan is being approved.
The loan will be given in two tranches.
The approval for the detailed project report for the Kaziranga subproject is under process.
The project is needed to support the Assam government’s initiatives to adopt specific steps for more effective management of flood and river erosion problems with along-term integrated perspective.
The project will provide enhanced resilience to flood and riverbank erosion risks in the three subproject areas (Dibrugarh, Palasbari and Kaziranga) along the Brahmaputra, benefiting nearly a million people.
The project document prepared by the bank says structural measures will focus on existing embankment systems protecting key urban and productive rural areas and updating requirements against river erosion.
Significant emphasis will also be placed on establishing sound data and knowledge base to effectively manage or respond to the dynamic natural river processes while not disturbing them as much as possible.
The state government, through cabinet endorsement, has established the Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Agency for executing the programme, an autonomous body anchored to water resources department with a multi-disciplinary structure, stable leadership, high-level oversight, and timely funds flow.
While Assam has flood embankment systems protecting 50 per cent of its flood prone areas, their effectiveness is limited because of deterioration associated with poor maintenance, riverbed rise and failure from river erosion.
Environmental impact assessments have been carried out for the three subproject areas covering their entire scope.
“Overall, the three subprojects are needed primarily to safeguard the people, property and environment from frequent floods of the Brahmaputra river and are strongly supported by the stakeholders. Positive environmental impacts include preservation of flora and fauna from the impact of river erosion and flooding including wetlands, pond fisheries and agriculture land. Interventions near Kaziranga will preserve the wildlife habitat by preventing the impacts of sudden flooding (from embankment breach). No damage is anticipated on endangered species like dolphins as well as Kaziranga National Park,” the bank says.