Work to protect Majuli Island in Assam to be completed by 2014

The second and third phases of work to protect the Majuli Island, the world's largest river island in Assam, will be completed by 2014, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Addressing concerns raised by members during Question Hour on the threat the island faces due to extensive soil erosion on its banks, Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat said the work on Phase-1 was completed by Brahmaputra Board in April 2011 at a cost of Rs 53.40 crore.

"Phase-II and III are 45 per cent complete and the rest will be completed by 2014," he said.

When members said the protection work was not yielding desired results, he said satellite images of Majuli Island showed a land mass of 502.21 sq km in 2004. Flood protection work had led to increase in the landmass by 18.05 sq km to 520.26 sq km.

A total of 96 km of embankment has been built.

As per recommendations of the Master Plan of Majuli Island, prepared by the Brahmaputra Board in 2000, a detailed project report for protection of the Island from flood and erosion was prepared wherein the implementation of protection work had been planned in three phases.

The works on Phase-I was completed in April 2011 while the work on the remaining two phases are in progress with targeted completion by end of March 2014, he said.

"We are giving full attention to flood protection work," he said, adding Brahmaputra Board has been asked to do basin area mapping based on which master plan will be prepared.

He said the government plans to restructure the Brahmaputra Board and change it into an authority but Arunachal Pradesh government has "raised some objections" without elaborating.

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