India: MFF - Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program - Tranche 1

Sovereign Project | 38412-023 Status: Active


ADB is helping India protect the livelihood of about a million people along the Brahmaputra River from floods and erosion. The project will strengthen flood and riverbank erosion risk management systems and establish community-based disaster management groups.

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Project Name MFF - Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program - Tranche 1
Project Number 38412-023
Country India
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 2684-IND: MFF - Assam Integrated Flood and River Erosion Risk Management Investment Program - Tranche 1
Ordinary capital resources US$ 48.50 million
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Agriculture, natural resources and rural development - Rural flood protection - Rural water policy, institutional and capacity development

Water and other urban infrastructure and services - Urban flood protection - Urban policy, institutional and capacity development

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming
Description The components for financing under the Project are (i) development of flood and riverbank erosion risk management (FRERM) planning, institutional and knowledge bases, (ii)establishment of comprehensive FRERM systems (in particular, the Project will support the priority interventions to strengthen the FRERM systems of the 3 subproject area, viz., Dibrugarh in Dibrugarh district, Kaziranga in Golaghat district, and Palasbari-Gumi in Kamrup district), and (iii) provision of multidisciplinary project management systems.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

1. India is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Flooding is a major recurrent natural disaster, causing annual damage of $450 million on average, with increasing severity in the recent years. High flood risk discourages private investments in productive activities, and is thus a key contributor of persistent regional and rural-urban disparity. In many cases, the poorest segment of the society suffers the greatest risk and damage. Vulnerability is particularly high in eastern and northeastern India where poverty level is high.

The Government of India is promoting state level sector reforms through its National Water Policy revised in 2002, advocating comprehensive structural and nonstructural measures

integrated with improved catchment management pursued with a long term planning framework. Strengthening resilience against water disaster is also one of the key elements of the Climate Change Action Plan of the Government of India (the Government) defined in 2009.

2. Assam is located in alluvial plains and adjacent low hilly terrains of the Brahmaputra River basin. The state remains one of the poorer states in India. Despite recent acceleration of

its economic growth led by broad economic and fiscal reforms, disparity against the national average income has still been widening. Effective flood risk management remains high on the state's development agenda, since substantial majority of its urban and agriculture area is located in flood prone areas, and suffering from devastating damages in high flood years. Yet the task is quite challenging, given massive flood discharges of the Brahmaputra River and its highly dynamic morphology, caused by extreme rainfall and fragile subsoil in its catchment, and heavy sediment transport. Addressing the problems calls for a comprehensive long term perspective and sound policy and planning framework as advocated by the Government.

3. The state government of Assam (SGOA) through Water Resources Department (WRD) has extended embankments and associated structures to protect about 50% of its flood-prone area. Yet their effectiveness is constrained due to poor designs overlooking local drainage, insufficient maintenance, failure due to river erosion, and limited stakeholder participation. High priority needs to be accorded to improving the reliability of existing embankment systems with assured maintenance. Where feasible, riverbank protection needs to be provided systematically and adaptively in response to the dynamic morphology, and exploring more cost-effective and sustainable innovations such as the use of geo-textile fabrics. Nonstructural measures need to be introduced such as risk education, risk mapping and warning, and flood proofing. These should be pursued with sound knowledge development to understand complex morphology and floodplain hydrology, and participatory mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability.

4. SGOA initiated economic reforms in the early 2000s aiming at inclusive growth with stronger governance and people's participation. A partnership with ADB has been established in strategic sectors including flood management. SGOA has initiated reform steps including (i) establishing the state Water Resources Council (headed by Chief Minister) and Board as sector apex bodies to guide the reform process; (ii) drafting a state water policy (SWP) with a vision towards setting up integrated water resources management system; (iii) including holistic FRERM as a prime element of the draft SWP setting out a sound strategy to this end; and (iv) notifying National Disaster Management Act and establishing disaster management organizations (DMOs) at state and local government levels. For the purpose of establishing and demonstrating holistic and sustainable FRERM in partnership with ADB, SGOA set up Assam Integrated FRERM Agency (AIFRERMA) in 2009, an autonomous body anchored to WRD with multidisciplinary structure, stable leadership, high level oversight, and timely fund flow. A roadmap to consolidate its effective operations has also been prepared, covering strategic planning, improved infrastructure quality, and sustainable maintenance.

5. The Government and SGOA in their 11th Five-year Plan (FYP: 2008/12) have placed significantly high priority for extending effective FRERM systems in flood prone areas. This has provided a basis for the Facility: Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program (AIFRERMIP). The initial engagement with AIFRERMIP will take a focused approach on three selected and appraised subprojects having existing embankments protecting critical urban and productive rural areas. They cover some 90km (7% of total) reaches of the Brahmaputra River in the state. Innovations and international best practices and lessons have been drawn, in terms of (i) knowledge development, (ii) more cost effective, adaptive, and sustainable alternatives in structural and nonstructural instruments, and (iii) holistic program delivery with improved governance, with stakeholder participation, stringent infrastructure quality control, integration with disaster management and livelihood promotion programs, and accountability mechanisms in program management. The AIFRERMIP is needed as the first step towards state wide application of comprehensive FRERM over the longer term. Wider scale replication is envisaged upon its successful implementation, and progressive strengthening of the institutional and knowledge bases.

6. The AIFRERMIP will institutionalize comprehensive risk management systems to cope with critical water disasters in Assam. It will demonstrate the following: (i) Establishment of a sound planning framework of holistic FRERM as a basis for strategic and systematic implementation of sector programs, (ii) Comprehensive structural and nonstructural measures, with introduction of costeffective, sustainable, and innovative riverbank protection adaptive to natural river processes, and nonstructural measures applied in a limited scale in Assam, (iii) Focused support for institutional development, including (a) knowledge base, (b) autonomous AIFRERMA with multi-disciplinary and accountable implementation with stable leadership, and (c) reforms and capacity strengthening of WRD, (iv) Integration of disaster and FRERM operations, with DMOs empowered to join all decision making process with participation of women and vulnerable groups.

7. The specific innovations which are applied to enhance cost-effectiveness and sustainability of managing riverbank erosion will include the following, which are also advocated and supported by the Ministry of Water Resources (MOWR) in the recent years: (i) Promotion of revetments as appropriate structural measures that can stabilize bank lines along the naturally developed alignments with little flow disruption, as compared to spurs that obstruct river flows and cause high maintenance requirements as well as erratic erosion in adjacent and opposite reaches. (ii) Use of alternative materials such as sand-filled geo-textile containers, which is increasingly seen as lower cost and sustainable technology in view of rapidly rising financial and environmental costs of quarrying boulders from forest areas. (iii) Development of short-term erosion prediction tool, which could reduce the mitigation cost through advance planning (as opposed to reactive response) of protection works, and advance warning and evacuation of vulnerable people. (iv) Application of a new and lower cost approach of coping with erosion with siltation inducement through flow retarding screens, which have been recently developed in Assam and proven effective up to certain flow conditions. This has a potential for further reducing the cost of riverbank erosion management when effectively combined with other structures such as revetments.

Impact FRERM systems provide enhanced resilience to flood and riverbank erosion risks in 3 subproject areas benefiting about 1 million people along the Brahmaputra River

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome State Government of Assam provides reliable, effective and sustainable FRERM systems in selected subproject areas in Assam along the Brahmaputra River
Progress Toward Outcome The Flood and River Erosion Management Agency of Assam has been established and functioning. Institutional capacity strengthening activities are in progress under the project.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

A. FRERM planning, institutional and knowledge basis established

A.1. FRERM Policy and Plan Framework fully established

A.2. Respective roles and key results areas of FRERM institutions clarified and their respective capacities for participatory DRM developed

A.3. Improved data and knowledge base for integrated FRERM

A.4. Knowledge sharing and regional networking mobilized and effective working relationships established for undertaking regular investigation and planning, and knowledge management activities

B. Comprehensive FRERM program implemented with DMC participation

B.1. Empowered communities play a role in FRERM Programs

B.2. Nonstructural measures are provided to DMCs up to GP; and CBFRM provided to highly vulnerable villages

B.3. Cost effective FRERM structural measures provided in the 3 subproject areas

B.4. Sustainable FRERM infrastructure monitoring, maintenance and adaptation institutionalized in the 3 subproject areas

C. FREMAA Program Management developed

C.1. Appropriate project management system established incl. results monitoring with indicators agreed and baseline data determined

C.2. Capacities of FRERM institutions strengthened

3. Efficient program management

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Project is making progress since 2012 with the improvement of project implementation management.

Works are largely completed, and the remaining works are expected to be completed by around May 2016. Disbursements need to be caught up.

The community-based disaster management activities were conducted in 32 villages. Institutional capacity development activities are on-going.

Geographical Location Assam State (Dibrugarh, Kamrup [South], and Golaghat districts)

Safeguard Categories

Environment A
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples B

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) have been carried out for the three subproject areas covering their entire scope including Project-1 and Project-2. While no signficant negative environmental impacts are anticipated, ADB classified the Project-1 as environmental category A in consideration of the diverse riverine environment. Overall, the three subprojects are needed primarily to safeguard the people, property and environment from frequent floods of the Brahmaputra River, and strongly supported by the stakeholders. Positive environmental impacts include preservation of flora and fauna from the impacts of river erosion and flooding including wetlands, pond fisheries and agriculture land. Interventions near Kaziranga will preserve the wild life habitat by preventing the impacts of sudden flooding (from embankment breach). No damage is anticipated on endangered species like dolphin as well as Kaziranga National Park. Anticipated impacts on hydrology and morphology are also deemed insignificant, given that the Project will support the proper functioning of the existing flood embankment systems, whereas riverbank protection works will be provided taking an adaptive approach, i.e., providing protection along the naturally developed bank lines where and when necessary. Nevertheless, close monitoring will be operationalized so that any unforeseen impacts will be detected and mitigation measures provided. Possible negative impacts include those associated with construction, which are temporary and can be mitigated through prescribed mitigation measures under the environmental monitoring and management plan to be operationalized under the Project, with the necessary capacity building of the executing agency and outsourcing. The Project will also strengthen the capacities of SGOA to progressively cope with any possible impacts of climate change, which may increase the precipitation according to some global climate model.
Involuntary Resettlement The Project is classified as involuntary resettlement category A. While its structural measures primarily involve the renovation of existing flood embankments, strip acquisition of land is needed in association with their shifting to cope with riverbank erosion, widening, and extension. The majority of acquired lands are located along the eroding bank line, which would be lost without project works. Project 1 will require acquisition of no land in Dibrugarh (embankment widening on the existing right-of-way with squatters, affecting 310 households); 20.6 hectares in Kaziranga (for inner secondary dyke, affecting 80 households); and 29.9 hectares in Palasbari subproject (for shifting, affecting 274 households). Full resettlement plans for project 1 works of these subprojects were prepared and agreed. For safeguards issues for the subsequent project, a resettlement framework were prepared following central and state government laws and regulations, and ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement (2009).
Indigenous Peoples Indigenous peoples issues have been found insignificant for project 1, and any negative impact is addressed in the resettlement plans. For safeguards issues for the subsequent project, an indigenous peoples development framework were prepared following central and state government laws and regulations, and ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement (2009).
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

A participatory process was used during the project preparatory stage, and consultations and collaborative decision making were carried out with a particular focus on women, the landless, ST, and other vulnerable groups in the subproject area using participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques, along with other ordinary stakeholders. Focus group meetings were organized targeting the most vulnerable people, and an inventory of local needs was prepared, encompassing problems/constraints related to: (i) water resources and disaster management including flooding and river erosion, agriculture, fisheries, environment, and other uses; (ii) possible solutions to resolve the constraints identified; and (iii) appropriate institutional mechanisms to address those constraints. NGOs were engaged to facilitate this process.

In addition to the local consultative process, three state level workshops were organized at the mid-term (Dec 2007) and draft final (June 2008) stages of the PPTA to present and discuss key findings and prospective scope and issues of the proposed investment project, to seek the feedback of the central, state, and local governments, local and international experts, and a wide range of stakeholders including civil society organizations active in environmental and vulnerable groups development issues including tribal population. The third workshop was organized on 4 Feb 2009 at the time of the fact-finding mission to discuss the provisional scope, implementation arrangements, and associated policy and institutional strengthening approaches. Useful suggestions were provided, including the need for duly reflecting the interests of the marginal and poorest population who are often outside of the embankment systems including the embankment squatters displaced by river erosion, and the significant strengthening of the institutional basis and capacities of the relevant organizations.

During Project Implementation

The Project will strengthen and effectively utilizes the existing local participatory disaster management framework including district, sub-district, and village level DMCs. They will be empowered to take a lead role to plan and decide on implementing the concerned FRERM plans at the subproject and community levels, based on which the programs will be delivered by the designated organizations under the monitoring and supervision of the DMCs. This participatory process will be institutionalized after completion of the Project in the annual planning and implementation process of FRERM program delivery, and maintenance and adaptation of the infrastructure. Village DMCs and community groups will also be strengthened to take over the management of minor infrastructure such as flood proofing platforms, small sluice gates and drainage canals. NGOs will be engaged to facilitate the process.

In the context of the above, special efforts will be provided to the enhanced participation of women, ST, and SC in the subproject areas in the DMCs, with specific actions to be pursued during the further Project preparation process, including the institutional strengthening of WRD, promotional actions and training programs to enhance the vulnerable group participation, and group formation of vulnerable people and delivery of programs for their empowerment.

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services The project includes the consultancy packages for (i) institutional strengthening; (ii) project management; and (iii) monitoring and evaluation. It also includes the NGO packages for supporting (i) community-based flood management capacity strengthening, and (ii) implantation of land acquisition and resettlement. Recruitment of all packages planned under the project has been completed.
Procurement The project includes procurement of geo-textile bags, and office and survey equipment. Procurement of civil works includes packages for riverbank protection works and embankment rehabilitation/ construction works in the Diburgarh and Palasbari-Gumi areas. Works in Kaziranga were shifted to the second tranche. All packages planned under the first tranche have been procured.

Responsible Staff

Responsible ADB Officer Totsuka, Natsuko
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Division, SARD
Executing Agencies
Flood and River Erosion Management Agency of Assam
[email protected]
Office of the CEO, FREMAA
4th floor, Nayantara Supermarket Building
Six Mile, Guwahati, Pin - 781022


Concept Clearance 22 Oct 2008
Fact Finding 27 Jan 2009 to 07 Feb 2009
MRM 09 Oct 2009
Approval 25 Oct 2010
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 30 Sep 2010
Last PDS Update 25 Jul 2016

Loan 2684-IND

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
25 Oct 2010 10 May 2011 04 Aug 2011 30 Sep 2014 31 Jul 2017 -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 62.70 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 48.50 25 Oct 2010 42.90 0.00 88%
Counterpart 14.20 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 25 Oct 2010 30.28 0.00 62%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - - - Satisfactory - Unsatisfactory

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