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Bharati assures to help Majuli

By Pankaj Borthakur

JORHAT, Feb 8 � At a meeting with local representatives of many organisations, including satradhikars and senior citizens in river island Majuli today, Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Uma Bharati assured of putting her official weight behind the ongoing effort to place �treasure island� Majuli in the World Heritage Site map.

Since yesterday evening, Uma Bharati and a team of her department�s officials visited various satras along with the erosion-ravaged sites in the river island which has witnessed massive flood and erosion since many decades ago. During a meeting with the Union Minister, members of the AASU, AJYCP and some other organisations submitted memoranda and pleaded for pragmatic and scientific measures to be adopted on an urgent basis for solving the perennial flood-induced river bank erosion problem on a permanent basis so as to save the heritage island from being totally wiped out by the annual deluge of the mighty Brahmaputra. The student bodies also mentioned about the plight of the thousands of homeless/landless displaced families who were languishing in the river island and elsewhere.

�Along with the demand for placing Majuli in the World Heritage Site List, we asked her to consider the State�s devastating flood and erosion as a national problem. Early rehabilitation of the displaced people of Majuli was also demanded,� informed Biren Saikia, district adviser of the AASU in Jorhat.

In order to make surface communication easier and smoother between Jorhat town and Majuli sub-division, local AJYCP representatives Jagat Hazarika and Munindra Bhuyan along with the organisation�s district president Ritul Pathak urged Bharati to initiate construction of a road-bridge over the Brahmaputra from Neamatighat in Jorhat. At present, ferry service is the only, often risky, mode of tardy communication, she was told.

Besides AASU and AJYCP, representatives of TMPK and many other organisations interacted with Bharati. All the representatives claimed that she very patiently responded to their demands and queries on a very positive note and assured of putting in all her efforts in order to make the river island a most preferred destination both for domestic and global tourists as it was a virtual treasure trove of Vaishnavite heritage and culture, dotted, as it is with satras (monasteries) and eye-catching natural beauty.

Besides interacting with the organisations and satradhikars, the Union Minister also discussed the burning issues of Majuli with the Government officials of the Brahmaputra Board, State Water Resources Department and concerned officials of the local sub-divisional administration.

In order to take stock of the perennial erosion problem and the current status of the protection works undertaken by the Brahmaputra Board, Bharati herself went in a boat to the erosion-affected sites at Sumoimari, Salmora, Dakhinpat, Afalamukh and many other places.

�We have seen for the first time a Union Minister�s enthusiasm in taking stock of the situation from ground zero. Obviously, the hagggard river islanders of Majuli have reposed full faith in her leadership, hoping that she would initiate urgent steps to ameliorate our collective plight,� opined Pranjal Saikia, a local starry-eyed youth of Kamalabari.

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