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Bridge link with Majuli opposed

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 28 � The State Government proposal to connect river island Majuli with Jorhat town through a road bridge has hit a road block with some of the island�s organizations and several of its leading sattradhikars opposing it as a threat to the unique cultural heritage of the islanders.

Garamur Sattradhikar Haridev Goswami expressed the apprehension that if constructed, the bridge may weaken the island�s bid to attain the UNESCO World Heritage Site status under cultural heritage category. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been trying for the past several years to wrest that status for the island.

The venerable Sattradhikar said that the island instead needs improvement in its river transport system.. There is a strong apprehension among the experts that the bridge may also jeopardise the physical safety system of the island, he said.

The Government should attach top priority to improve the physical safety mechanism of the island, said the Sattradhikar.

Sattradhikar of the Dakhinpat Sattra Nanigopal Dev Goswami also echoed the apprehension that the bridge may affect the cultural heritage of the islanders. No doubt, the bridge will improve the road communication system of the island to a great extent, he said.

Both the Sattradhikars laid stress on modernizing the river transport system of the island with the provision of modern boats. They also called for measures to improve the road network inside the island.

Uttar Kamalabari Sattra Sattradhikar Janardan Dev Goswami said that what Majuli needs today is a speedy, safe and improved river communication system as an alternative to the bridge, he said.

Natun Kamalabari Sattradhikar Narayan Chandra Goswami said that good, modern boats with all facilities will remove the need of such a bridge. The number of trips by the boats should also be increased considerably. There should also be the provisions for separate boats to carry passengers and cargo, he said.

President of the voluntary organization Majuli Surakshya Samiti (MSS) Hem Chandra Bhuyan said that the bridge will make the island lose its distinctiveness as an island.

Reminding that the consequence of the closure of the Kherkatia Suti channel was the erosion of the entire Ahatguri Mouza of the island, he said that the bridge may also cause such a danger for the island if proper steps are not taken for its physical protection.

General secretary of the voluntary organization Majuli Island Protection and Development Council (MIPADC) Bharat Saikia, who is also a river engineer, told this newspaper that apart from affecting the cultural heritage of its people, the bridge will intensify the threat of erosion for the island.

For, he said, the bridge will constrict artificially the Brahmaputra waterway. If constricted, the river may lead to afflux in the upstream areas of the bridge and fanning out of the river in its downstream areas. Such a development means more erosion of the land mass of the already threatened island, he said.

However, if the guide bundh being built for the construction of the bridge is extended with the same specification covering the entire south bank length of the island right from upstream Matmara down to the original Ahatguri, only then the bridge will not become a threat for the island, he said.

The river is around five kilometres wide between Janjhimukh on the Jorhat side and Besamara on the Majuli side. Rest of the river channel is much wider for a bridge. Again, the Janjhimukh and Besamara areas are also located on clayey layers of soil, which does not have the capacity to bear the huge load of a bridge withstanding the torrential current of a mighty river like the Brahmaputra, Saikia said.

The Government, he suggested, should instead try to improve the river transport system of the island on both its south bank and north bank sides. The traditional environment of the island is a unique heritage of the entire humanity and it should not be allowed to be destroyed in the name of development, said the MIPADC general secretary.

It needs mention here that the State Public Works Department (PWD) issued a newspaper advertisement on July 22 inviting expression of interest for consultancy services for techno-economic feasibility study for construction of the said bridge.

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Bridge link with Majuli opposed

GUWAHATI, July 28 � The State Government proposal to connect river island Majuli with Jorhat town through a road bridge has hit a road block with some of the island�s organizations and several of its leading sattradhikars opposing it as a threat to the unique cultural heritage of the islanders.

Garamur Sattradhikar Haridev Goswami expressed the apprehension that if constructed, the bridge may weaken the island�s bid to attain the UNESCO World Heritage Site status under cultural heritage category. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been trying for the past several years to wrest that status for the island.

The venerable Sattradhikar said that the island instead needs improvement in its river transport system.. There is a strong apprehension among the experts that the bridge may also jeopardise the physical safety system of the island, he said.

The Government should attach top priority to improve the physical safety mechanism of the island, said the Sattradhikar.

Sattradhikar of the Dakhinpat Sattra Nanigopal Dev Goswami also echoed the apprehension that the bridge may affect the cultural heritage of the islanders. No doubt, the bridge will improve the road communication system of the island to a great extent, he said.

Both the Sattradhikars laid stress on modernizing the river transport system of the island with the provision of modern boats. They also called for measures to improve the road network inside the island.

Uttar Kamalabari Sattra Sattradhikar Janardan Dev Goswami said that what Majuli needs today is a speedy, safe and improved river communication system as an alternative to the bridge, he said.

Natun Kamalabari Sattradhikar Narayan Chandra Goswami said that good, modern boats with all facilities will remove the need of such a bridge. The number of trips by the boats should also be increased considerably. There should also be the provisions for separate boats to carry passengers and cargo, he said.

President of the voluntary organization Majuli Surakshya Samiti (MSS) Hem Chandra Bhuyan said that the bridge will make the island lose its distinctiveness as an island.

Reminding that the consequence of the closure of the Kherkatia Suti channel was the erosion of the entire Ahatguri Mouza of the island, he said that the bridge may also cause such a danger for the island if proper steps are not taken for its physical protection.

General secretary of the voluntary organization Majuli Island Protection and Development Council (MIPADC) Bharat Saikia, who is also a river engineer, told this newspaper that apart from affecting the cultural heritage of its people, the bridge will intensify the threat of erosion for the island.

For, he said, the bridge will constrict artificially the Brahmaputra waterway. If constricted, the river may lead to afflux in the upstream areas of the bridge and fanning out of the river in its downstream areas. Such a development means more erosion of the land mass of the already threatened island, he said.

However, if the guide bundh being built for the construction of the bridge is extended with the same specification covering the entire south bank length of the island right from upstream Matmara down to the original Ahatguri, only then the bridge will not become a threat for the island, he said.

The river is around five kilometres wide between Janjhimukh on the Jorhat side and Besamara on the Majuli side. Rest of the river channel is much wider for a bridge. Again, the Janjhimukh and Besamara areas are also located on clayey layers of soil, which does not have the capacity to bear the huge load of a bridge withstanding the torrential current of a mighty river like the Brahmaputra, Saikia said.

The Government, he suggested, should instead try to improve the river transport system of the island on both its south bank and north bank sides. The traditional environment of the island is a unique heritage of the entire humanity and it should not be allowed to be destroyed in the name of development, said the MIPADC general secretary.

It needs mention here that the State Public Works Department (PWD) issued a newspaper advertisement on July 22 inviting expression of interest for consultancy services for techno-economic feasibility study for construction of the said bridge.