BARPETA, Feb 6 � The Barpeta district committee of the Nikhil Bharat Krishak Sabha has demanded that flood and erosion be declared a national problem and sought a permanent solution to the twin disasters. They also demanded recognition of these grave problems as natural calamities.
Members of the Krishak Sabha staged a demonstration here on Wednesday, demanding adequate relief and rehabilitation of the affected people. The organisation also demanded an end to all anomalies in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA).
It submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the Deputy Commissioner, demanding early fulfilment of their demands. The memorandum, signed by Fajlur Rahman, president, and Ajijur Rahman, secretary of the Nikhil Bharat Krishak Sabha, Barpeta district committee, alleged that 91 revenue villages have been fully and 95 partially eroded in Barpeta district since 1954.
Erosion caused by the Beki and Brahmaputra rivers has destroyed 284998.36 bighas of land in the district. Lakhs of people have become homeless due to continuous erosion and many places of historical and cultural importance have been wiped out.
The Sabha activists maintained that flood and erosion have caused extensive loss to the State in general and Barpeta district in particular, which has changed the socio-economic scenario of the State. They alleged that though a few erosion-affected families were provided rehabilitation during the 1960s, no such efforts have been undertaken in the last few years. Though some affected families have taken shelter on government land, they have not been provided pattas. Even those families, who have been allotted land, have not been given relevant documents.
The left wing organisation also demanded proper implementation of the MGNREGA. It alleged that even after 10 years of introduction, this important Act has not been implemented properly in the district. The proper implementation of the Act could have provided employment to the erosion-hit people of the district. The Sabha also alleged that the BJP-led Government at the Centre is trying to restrict employment under the Act through some amendments. The Government has even tried to decrease the number of districts from 675 to 200 under the Act, it added.
The organisation also demanded adequate compensation to the families affected by erosion, and allotment of land to these families as proposed by the Circle Officer of the Baghbar Revenue Circle. Regarding the MGNREGA, it demanded enhancement of wages to Rs 300 and the number of working days up to 200.