Erosion of Majuli island to be tackled on war footing: PM

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New Delhi, Oct 29 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today directed the authorities to check on a war-footing the erosion of the Majuli island in the Brahmaputra river in Assam.

Dr Singh issued the directive while reviewing the action taken by the government to counteract the erosion of the island, which the Centre wants to be declared as a world heritage.

He said Majuli was a site of great emotional and cultural significance to Assam given the presence of Vaishnavites. The government should mobilise the best technical competence available to address this task.

The Action Plan should be implemented on highest priority and in addition to technical professionals, civil society experts should also be enlisted for the preservation of the Majuli Island.

The Prime Minister also desired that an update on the work done on this matter may be sent to the PMO every three months.

A Presentation was made on the gradual but steady erosion of the Majuli Island in the Brahamaputra on account of high silt and sand content making it very erodible and the steps being taken to tackle the problem.

The steps include the acceptance of a detailed project plan of Rs 86.50 crores to be executed in three phases. The Rs 41.28 crore Phase-1 is now under implementation and is expected to be completed by March 2008.

Phase 2 and 3 would be taken up and completed by 2009. The meeting was informed that the measures taken up under Phase-1 has had some positive impact on reducing further erosion, saving of crops and improving communications.

The Minister of Water Resources will head a high level team for a field visit, soon after the monsoon to assess the situation and take corrective action where required. The Ministry of Culture was asked to accelerate action given the fact that Majuli is being sponsored by the Government of India as a site to be declared as a world heritage.

The meeting was attended by the Ministers of Water Resources and Culture, and the Secretaries of Water Resources and DONER, Chairman, Brahamaputra Board and Director General, ASI.

UNI

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