State steps up demand for NE Water Authority

Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, Oct 29 – The Assam Government has reiterated its demand for speedy constitution of the Northeastern Water Resources Authority (NEWRA) for the sake of a holistic and integrated water and hydroelectric policy for the NE region so that judicious use of the region’s water resources and its hydel potential could be done.

State’s Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi told this newspaper today that the Assam Government reiterated its demand for the NEWRA about two weeks back. Earlier, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi placed the demand before the National Development Council (NDC) in its meeting at New Delhi on July 24 last.

The Assam Government has been demanding for constitution of a regional water resources authority for quite a long time. However, the Government of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh has been opposing such a move fearing that its sole authority over the water resources of the rivers flowing through the hilly state would be curtailed in the event of formation of such a body.

But the justification of the Assam Government for the formation of the NEWRA is that it would pave the way for judicious use of the region’s available water resources and also for the proper identification of the sites of the hydroelectric power projects over the region’s potential rivers, said Borodoloi.

It needs mention here that Prime Minister of the country had announced a move for formation of the NEWRA in August 2008. But, since then, nothing positive has come up in this regard due to the stiff opposition from the Arunachal Pradesh Government.