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Brahmaputra renders many homeless in Barpeta

By Correspondent

BARPETA, Nov 30 - Unabated river bank erosion by the Brahmaputra has already rendered scores of people homeless, while another sizeable section of riverside residents are facing a similar predicament as erosion is taking its toll in several parts of Barpeta district.

In recent times, a large number of residential plots have been eroded by the Brahmaputra at Bhogerpar under Chenga Assembly Constituency within the district. Erosion at Bhogerpar area began in July this year and since then about 30 families of that village have lost their dwelling houses. Though the swirling waters of the Red River were in a state of lull during September and October last, it again exhibited its fury from the beginning of November. Even on a cursory glance, around 100 bighas of fertile agricultural land, including residential plots have been eroded during the last one week.

Roumari, also under Chenga Assembly Constituency, has also experienced a similar fate since the past one month. Six families of that village have been compelled to shift their residences to safer places after losing their dwelling houses to erosion. Vast areas of cultivated land have also been eroded. Farmers of the area cultivated rabi crops on the bank of the Brahmaputra, and several seasonal crops were almost ready to be harvested. But the farmers� dreams were rudely shattered as the mighty Brahmaputra suddenly shifted northwards and gobbled up the land over which the near-ripe crops were standing.

Unfortunately, the Government has till date not cared to rehabilitate anyone who has lost his/her household to erosion, while at the same time no step has been forthcoming to check the devastating natural calamity. Those who can afford it have shifted to other places where they had purchased land previously as an alternative measure. However, others have put up in rental houses and some have even taken shelter in the houses of relatives, friends or well-wishers. But most of the people have taken shelter on the embankment of the river, that too knowing fully well that it will also be eroded, as in the recent past.

While this correspondent visited the affected areas, the suffering people narrated their anguish. In fact the erosion-affected people were compelled to live in sub-human conditions. They unfortunate people alleged that river bank erosion in south east Barpeta is a regular phenomenon since the last six decades. But it is a matter of regret that the concerned authorities have not undertaken any effective measure to check it.

The people also rued the negligence and indifference of the Government towards the vital issue of rehabilitation of the displaced people. �We don�t want anything else, but a permanent shelter�, said Nalini Bayan, a 70-year-old woman who lost her house in July last and is presently living in a shelter situated over a highland built by an NGO at Bhogerpar. Either the Government rehabilitate us or shoot us down�, Bayan, whose husband and sons work as daily wage labourers, said out of desperation. She added that it is better to commit suicide than live in such a deplorable unhygienic condition.

Meanwhile, while contacted, the Deputy Commissioner of Barpeta district, Thaneswar Malakar informed this correspondent that a masterplan to check erosion in the south east part of Barpeta has been prepared by the Water Resource Department and is awaiting approval by the Government.

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Brahmaputra renders many homeless in Barpeta

BARPETA, Nov 30 - Unabated river bank erosion by the Brahmaputra has already rendered scores of people homeless, while another sizeable section of riverside residents are facing a similar predicament as erosion is taking its toll in several parts of Barpeta district.

In recent times, a large number of residential plots have been eroded by the Brahmaputra at Bhogerpar under Chenga Assembly Constituency within the district. Erosion at Bhogerpar area began in July this year and since then about 30 families of that village have lost their dwelling houses. Though the swirling waters of the Red River were in a state of lull during September and October last, it again exhibited its fury from the beginning of November. Even on a cursory glance, around 100 bighas of fertile agricultural land, including residential plots have been eroded during the last one week.

Roumari, also under Chenga Assembly Constituency, has also experienced a similar fate since the past one month. Six families of that village have been compelled to shift their residences to safer places after losing their dwelling houses to erosion. Vast areas of cultivated land have also been eroded. Farmers of the area cultivated rabi crops on the bank of the Brahmaputra, and several seasonal crops were almost ready to be harvested. But the farmers� dreams were rudely shattered as the mighty Brahmaputra suddenly shifted northwards and gobbled up the land over which the near-ripe crops were standing.

Unfortunately, the Government has till date not cared to rehabilitate anyone who has lost his/her household to erosion, while at the same time no step has been forthcoming to check the devastating natural calamity. Those who can afford it have shifted to other places where they had purchased land previously as an alternative measure. However, others have put up in rental houses and some have even taken shelter in the houses of relatives, friends or well-wishers. But most of the people have taken shelter on the embankment of the river, that too knowing fully well that it will also be eroded, as in the recent past.

While this correspondent visited the affected areas, the suffering people narrated their anguish. In fact the erosion-affected people were compelled to live in sub-human conditions. They unfortunate people alleged that river bank erosion in south east Barpeta is a regular phenomenon since the last six decades. But it is a matter of regret that the concerned authorities have not undertaken any effective measure to check it.

The people also rued the negligence and indifference of the Government towards the vital issue of rehabilitation of the displaced people. �We don�t want anything else, but a permanent shelter�, said Nalini Bayan, a 70-year-old woman who lost her house in July last and is presently living in a shelter situated over a highland built by an NGO at Bhogerpar. Either the Government rehabilitate us or shoot us down�, Bayan, whose husband and sons work as daily wage labourers, said out of desperation. She added that it is better to commit suicide than live in such a deplorable unhygienic condition.

Meanwhile, while contacted, the Deputy Commissioner of Barpeta district, Thaneswar Malakar informed this correspondent that a masterplan to check erosion in the south east part of Barpeta has been prepared by the Water Resource Department and is awaiting approval by the Government.

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