German expert working to tame the Brahmaputra

June 22nd, 2010 - 3:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, June 22 (IANS) A German hydrologist has been entrusted by the Assam government to tame the great Asian river Brahmaputra that causes catastrophic flooding and erosion, causing destruction across the region.
“The German expert has drafted a concept paper detailing the methods he would be using to mitigate the woes caused by the flooding and massive erosion by the Brahmaputra,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.

Wolfgang-Albert Flügel, head of the Geoinformatics, Hydrology and Modelling department of Friedrich-Schiller University in Germany, is being assisted by Nayan Sharma of the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, a hydrologist from Assam.

The European Commission is supporting the project called ‘BrahmaTwinn’ - named after the Brahmaputra and the Twinning Basin in Europe.

According to the preliminary report, the expert team is planning to make a thorough assessment of the Brahmaputra and work out a comprehensive mechanism to deal with the twin problems of flooding and erosion.

The 2,906 km long Brahmaputra is one of Asia’s largest rivers, traversing its first stretch of 1,625 km in Tibet, the next 918 km in India and the remaining through Bangladesh before converging into the Bay of Bengal.

Every year floods in Assam leave a trail of destruction, washing away villages, submerging fields and drowning livestock, besides causing loss of human life and property.

In 2004, more than 200 people were killed in floods in Assam.

The Brahmaputra and its tributaries have eroded over 400,000 hectares of land in the past six decades since a devastating earthquake in 1950 changed the course of the river.

“The idea of engaging the expert team is basically to find a permanent solution to the flood and erosion problem. We are pretty hopeful of positive results,” Gogoi said.

“Efforts are being made by the expert team to clear the main channels of the Brahmaputra to ensure free flow of water so that it does not cause flooding,” he said.

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