Assam to aggressively pursue issue of water release

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Guwahati, June 17 (UNI) With northern Assam reeling under flood caused by water released from Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan without warning, the state government has decided to pursue the matter strongly.

The Assam government will pursue with greater vigour the matter of release of excess water from both the states. '' It has been causing untold damage in our state,'' State Revenue and Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Dr Bhumidhar Barman told UNI over telephone today.

He visited the worst-hit North Lakhimpur district today along with the Chief Minister and state Water Resources Development minister besides concerned officials.

Water from as many as three under-construction dams, one NEEPCO and two of a NHPC project, had entered into adjoining Assam from Arunachal Pradesh following incessant rain in the latter state, leading to devastating flash floods in northern Assam.

Official sources said eight people have been killed so far, though other sources pegged the death toll at 17, with a few bodies yet to be recovered.

Two coffer dams of NHPC of the Lower Subansiri project gave away under the force of rising water and inundated vast tracts of land on the lower end.

Water spilled over the Ranganadi project of the NEEPCO that was being constructed at Papumpare district of Arunachal and submerged North Lakhimpur district.

Dr Barman said a state government team would soon visit Arunachal Pradesh to access the situation and discuss with the neighbouring state for a warning mechanism before release of excess water.

''It could at least help us save valuable lives, if not property,'' he added.

On the similar problem of Bhutan water flooding lower Assam, the minister informed that the state government had written to the Centre to take up the matter with the neighbouring country after lower Assam districts faced severe flash floods due to it.

'' We are following up the matter after we had formally written to Central government over the issue,'' he said.

Dr Barman added that the chief minister would also take up the matter with the External Affairs Minister.

UNI SG KK RN1701

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