Assam Cabinet Approves River Basin Management Project, Relaxes Agroforestry Rules

Guwahati: Assam’s cabinet on Sunday approved the river basin management project and moved to relax agroforestry rules and streamline recruitment in state government departments.

Addressing a press conference after chairing the Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Phase I of the World Bank-funded Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project had been approved at the meeting.

Works on integrated water management and works related to river flooding and erosion will be undertaken in Burhidehing and Beki river basins at a value of US$83 million in Phase I, a- he declared.

An amount of Rs 1,016 crore to support the design and construction of the Assam Skill University campus in Mangaldai has also been approved by Cabinet, Sarma added.

In a major decision in the agroforestry sector, it will no longer be necessary to take permission from the forest department to cut trees of several species in non-forest areas, such as private land or agricultural fields, said Sarma.

The move will give a boost to the plywood industry in the state, he said, adding that a national agroforestry commission will also be set up soon.

The Chief Minister also said that the Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) to conduct a combined review for 48 additional Group A and B posts under the state government.

APSC previously held a combined exam for 28 positions.

Sarma said, “Applicants will be posted according to their rank in the merit list. The single exam will prevent them from having to take several exams.

The rules of the recruitment commission for the state government grade 3 and 4 posts have also been approved by the Cabinet, he added.

An amount of Rs 158.4 crore for disaster risk mitigation including setting up 100 climate resilient villages and about 50 multipurpose flood shelters has been sanctioned, the minister said in chef on Twitter later.

To improve administrative efficiency and ensure smooth operation for the creation of new districts, the water resources department will be restructured, he said.

For the implementation of the Free Drugs and Consumables program for 2021-2022, Rs 154 crore has been approved for the National Health Mission, Assam to ensure free availability of essential drugs to hospitals in tea garden areas, Sarma said in the Tweet.

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