Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday said controlling erosion in the Brahmaputra and its tributaries would be the primary aim of his government.

He said the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to the state on Tuesday has helped in bringing the problem of erosion to the fore.

"Earlier there had never been any mention of erosion. Now the Prime Minister himself has termed erosion as a serious problem," Gogoi told reporters here.

He said the Prime Minister has promised to look into the issue of declaring erosion as a national disaster in par with flood and draught.

"The Prime Minister has assured us that he will propose inclusion of erosion in the list of national disasters. Now, with central assistance, we can provide all help to people affected by erosion," Gogoi said.

"While flood is a temporary phenomenon, the problem of erosion has long-term implications," he said.

Assam has sought Central assistance to the tune of Rs 11,316 crore for immediate and midterm measures for flood control and relief and rescue. A memorandum in this regard was handed over to Singh yesterday during his visit to the state.
Gogoi also asked the central government to make the India Meteorological Department (IMD) more effective and for installation of an early warning system for flood in the region.

"We also want the Central Water Commission to set up a regional office in Assam so that we do not have to keep on approaching New Delhi every time," Gogoi said.


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