AZARA, April 29 � A high-level team of the Brahmaputra Board, comprising its executive engineer, Mirza subdivision assistant executive engineer and other field officials and staff of the Guwahati Division recently visited Rani chapori near here to have an on-the-spot assessment of the problems as stated in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of India, by one Gajen Chandra Kalita, a social worker and inhabitant of Dharapur (Dhopartal) village of Kamrup district.
Kalita along with a few villagers of the locality also accompanied the visiting team to the area. The team observed that as stated in the letter, about 3,000 people of nine villages � Dharapur, Jangarabari, Goral, Kuhabori, Bhattapara, Kendukuchi, Majirgaon, Sadilapur and Palasbari � are dependent on the agricultural activities in a land mass in the midst of the river Brahmaputra.
The island, encompassing an area of about 5,000 hectares, locally called Rani chapori (Majoli), is a fertile land mass which does not have a permanent bank line. In actual practice, the land area of the Rani chapori increases or decreases, synchronising with the aggravation and degradation activity of the river. The chapori or the river island is separated from the villages by a distance of about a kilometre.
As reported by some of the villagers, they go to the area by country boats in the morning and return to their respective villages in the evening after carrying out farming activities in the area. As per their version, only some farm labourers are engaged by them to help in cultivation and other related works. These labourers stay on the island. Moreover, the protection of the area from the river-bank erosion is being taken up by the Water Resources Department, Government of Assam.
The Brahmaputra Board team observed that the Water Resource Department is taking up revetment work on the bank of the river at vulnerable reaches. As gathered, earlier also some anti-erosion measures in the from of bank revetment work on the vulnerable stretches of the river were taken up by the department.
From discussion with the villagers, the team observed that the people of the area desired that modern sophisticated instruments/equipment be provided to them for carrying out agricultural practices in the Rani chapori area that may be connected with electricity so that modern electrical equipment could be operated for better agricultural output. The villagers also advocated construction of a bridge to the river island from the mainland for better connectivity.
The team recommended that the Water Resources Department, Agriculture Department, PWD and the APDCL may initiate appropriate steps in providing adequate measures to protect the area from the threat of erosion. The team felt that the Agriculture Department may provide modern equipment for better agricultural practices, the PWD may study the feasibility of constructing a bridge for better communication, while the APDCL authority may study the feasibility of connecting the river island with electrical network.