GUWAHATI, July 8 � The embankment policy of the State needs a thorough review. This was the opinion of the experts who took part in an international conference on Majuli held here today.
The event was organised by the Society for Srimanta Sankaradeva in collaboration with the Core Professional Group for the Brahmaputra, Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters (FASS) International (USA), Assam Society of America Foundation (USA) and the Majuli Cultural Landscape Authority of the Government of Assam.
The experts also suggested that tourism potential of Majuli Island should be exploited in a scientific manner, in keeping with the natural and cultural environment of the river island. This is mandatory for keeping intact the natural and cultural landscape of the island intact, said the experts.
Engineer Bharat Saikia, who prepared the first nomination dossier of Majuli for its UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2000, said embankments were laid as a temporary measure to prevent floods. But their continuance has led to the rise in the riverbeds and the localities along the rivers have now become deeper. Embankments have also made the river channels migratory and braided.
He suggested installation of good quality hard plastic pipes of one feet diameter, at the gap of per half or one km, to inject floodwater inside the island and release of the same after the floods subside to raise the level of the countryside and wash away its dirt. This will finally save the island from being destroyed. Rivers of the State should also be made navigable, he said.
Dr Arvind Phukan, a retired Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Alaska and the President of the Core Professional Group for the Brahmaputra, said variability of highly erodible nature of fluvial soils is one of the major factors responsible for erosion. Moreover, insufficient reduced effective flood flow area and conveyance space of the river and embankments failure are the two major reasons for flooding, he said.
The function conducted by Dr Sanjib Kumar Barkakoty, president of the Society for Srimanta Sankaradeva, was also addressed by noted Gandhian Natwar Thakkar consultant architect Suryanarayana Murthy, Natun Kamalabari Sattradhikar Narayan Chandra Goswami, FASS representative Jayanta Barman and Chief Executive Officer of the Majuli Cultural Landscape Management Authority Sayed Iftiquar Hussain.