GUWAHATI: After stating in the Parliament that there was no proposal for construction of highways on both banks of the Brahmaputra, Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari today had to eat his words stating that the forest and environment ministry was responsible for the government’s failure to construct the two highways.
Answering newspersons here today, Gadkari said, “We tried to construct the two expressways on the banks of the Brahmaputra, but could not get the forest ministry approval.”
It was just a month and a half ago he answered a question from Assam Rajya Sabha member Ajit Kumar Bhuyan on whether there was any proposal for constructing the expressways on both banks of the mighty river saying, “There is no proposal for construction of highways on both sides of the river.”
Coming to power in Assam in 2016, the Sarbananda Sonowal had stated that the Centre had taken an initiative to dredge the Brahmaputra to mitigate the flood and erosion problem. It was also stated that the Centre would construct two expressways on both banks of the river which would act as embankments. The roads were supposed to be built on the silt deposited on the banks after dredging of the river.
Neither was the river dredged, nor any project prepared to build expressways.
The BJP is now promising the people of the state that it would dig lakes and ponds alongside the Brahmaputra to accommodate excess water of rivers and use it for irrigation and tourism purposes. Union home minister Amit Shah has been repeatedly saying in election meetings that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has got the entire length of the river surveyed with the help of satellite to dig the lakes and ponds. The voters have been taking his words with a pinch of salt though.
Shah has been seeking five more years to make Assam free from floods.
The state faces perennial floods during monsoons and the reason attributed for it is the swelling of the Brahmaputra riverbed following the earthquake of August 15, 1950.
Gadkari was here today to campaign for BJP candidates in different party candidates. In a media interaction, he claimed in five years the BJP achieved more than what the Congress could not in 50 years.
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