Wrath of Nature

Tuesday, 26 January 2021



Wrath of Nature

Swapnil Bharali | July 27, 2019 15:43 hrs

They often say that public memory is short. Well, I beg to differ although I am as much public as anyone else! When it comes to our floods and the annual misery that it brings to our lovely state, I just cannot help recall a headline in Business Standard from June 17, 2016 which read, “Assam to take a leaf out of China's flood control measures.” The story went on to state that, “Assam has decided to constitute an expert committee which will be tasked to go to China and study the Yellow River (Huwang He) management strategies. It would be then required to suggest ways to replicate the same in Assam to tame river and use it as a deterrent for flood and erosion.” Three years down the line with the worst ever flood situation that I can recall I wonder if those experts visited China for the all-important study and if so, what has been replicated?

Again, an entity that I recall with not too much fondness is the Brahmaputra Board. From the home-page of its website, I quote verbatim, “Mission: Regulation and development of Inter-State Brahmaputra & Barak  River Valley by planning and such other measures so as to achieve development and utilization of water resources of Brahmaputra & Barak Valley for irrigation, hydropower, navigation and flood management. Vision: Integrated Management of Flood and River Basins of interstate/international rivers of NE Region by involving expertise of domain experts, state of art knowledge & technology, working closely with State Governments and other Stake Holders.”

This Board conducts high-powered meetings at up-market venues and advertises for filling up posts in its top management cadre. I am not sure for what though.

Do I need to elaborate any further? Chinese rivers have been checked out, a Board completely dedicated to the study and control of the Brahmaputra floods is already in existence and yet, broken dykes and unrepaired embankments ensure that beleaguered rural Assam gets completely swamped by swirling flood waters such that the CM’s Relief Fund is the top advertisement of the day. 

These situations just reinforce the conviction of chronic sceptics like me – intent does not miraculously translate into results on its own and human misery is but a mere goldmine to extract wealth and political mileage from. There is no escaping the wrath of Nature for the sins of man in Assam.

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