GUWAHATI, July 3 - In a positive development for the river island Majuli, the Brahmaputra Board, which is engaged in the work to provide physical protection to this river island, has now obtained a financial sanction worth around Rs 233 crore to undertake more projects for providing the island additional strength to withstand erosion. The Board has so far helped the island reclaim a landmass of around 23 square km.
Information available with this newspaper state that the projects being undertaken by the Brahmaputra Board with this amount, include � bank riveting at 11 vulnerable locations in a stretch of 27 km, installation of porcupines at 41 locations, laying a pilot channel of 3.5 km length and construction of a sluice at one suitable location.
Out of the around Rs 233 crore, the Ministry of Development of the North East Region (DoNER) will provide a fund of Rs 207 crore.
Satellite imageries suggest that prior to 2004, when the Brahmaputra Board was not in the scene, the trend in Majuli was negative so far as retaining its landmass was concerned. It was losing its landmass then at the rate of 2.56 square km annually. But after 2004, the island is gaining its area at the rate of around 1.84 square km per year.
In 2004, the total area of Majuli was around 502 square km as per satellite imagery. In 2016, the area of the island got increased to around 525 square km. The areas reclaimed are located near the Sonowal Kachari, upstream of Bongaon and also in Birinabari.
It is learnt that river training works undertaken by the Board with the use of RCC porcupines and spurs have resulted into the above developments.
With these devices, the Brahmaputra main channel has been pushed away from its bank along the island to a considerable distance. Of course, a major channel of the Brahmaputra is still touching its bank along the river island at Salmara and Bhakat Chapori areas, while the rest of the island�s river bank areas are witnessing silt deposits.
Though porcupines are installed all along the Majuli bank of the Brahmaputra, major porcupine installations were done at upstream of Sonowal Kachari near Jabor Chuk, at upstream of Salmara, at Aphalamukh Dakhinpat, at Sumoimari and at Birinabari Karotipar area.
The Board also constructed four spurs in Salmara-Aphalamukh area and one spur in Sumoimari area. Besides, in 2011-�12 it built the boulder noses of the spurs at Kandhulimari and Sonowal Kachari areas. These spurs were built by the State�s Water Resources Department (WRD).
The Board has taken recourse to bank revetment in four locations for a length of 4.28 km in Jengrai, in Sumoimari, in Bhakat Chapori and in Karotipar areas. It has constructed two tie-bunds to close the avulsed channels flowing towards the bank.