Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday asked the Assam government to devise a long-term plan to protect the northeastern state from flood for decades so that more development can take place.
If the state is to develop further and attract significant private investment, protection from deluge, a perennial problem of the state, is a key requirement, Shah said while chairing a meeting here to look into ways to make Assam flood free.
"Protection from flood is a key requirement for the development of the state and attracting significant private investment. The state government must go beyond short term plans and come up with a long-term plan, which would provide protection from flood for decades to come," Shah said.
The union home minister, who is also the chairman of the North Eastern Council (NEC), directed the state government to prepare a concrete action plan to protect wetlands in the state.
"The wetlands must be rejuvenated to enhance water-holding capacity and these can also act as reservoirs during flood," he said.
The state government must take all steps, including enacting a law for the protection of reservoirs and a mechanism for enforcement, he said.
A meeting with the ministries of Jal Shakti, power and the state government will soon be convened to look at measures to include "more flood moderation reservoirs along with hydro projects in Arunachal Pradesh to mitigate floods in Assam", the union minister said.
Apart from utilising the services of North Eastern Space Applications Centre with which the Assam government has signed an MoU for developing flood forecasting and early warning systems, the minister pitched for involving the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in capacity building of the state agencies.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and senior officials of the state government.
The CM said the home minister emphasised on a long-term solution to the perennial issue of floods.
"He also stressed inter-ministerial and inter-departmental coordination for making Assam flood-free," Sarma tweeted.
"My deep gratitude to Adarniya Griha Mantri Shri @Amit Shahji for his commitment to a flood-free Assam. During a meeting with stakeholders immediately after reaching Guwahati, he reviewed the reasons responsible for recurring floods and steps taken by the government to tackle the problem," Sarma wrote on the microblogging site.
Shah is on a three-day visit to the state to attend several official meetings and BJP party programmes.