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Early solution to perennial Rohmaria problem demanded

By Ron Duarah

DIBRUGARH, July 29 - At Assam�s most famous erosion site, locals are hopeful of a prolonged protection of Rohmaria, provided the promised schemes are executed correctly. This optimism comes from none other than the umbrella organisation that is spearheading a campaign to save Rohmaria in Dibrugarh district from a frightening southward erosion by the mighty Brahmaputra. As geotectonic and natural factors prevent any permanent solution to floods and erosion, it is �prolonged protection� that seems more appropriate.

An umbrella organisation of locals of Rohmaria that also includes several students, women�s and youth organisations, the Rohmaria Gorakhohonia Protirudh Sangram Mancha comprises almost all the better known associations of the State. These include the Dibrugarh district units of AASU, AJYCP, ATTSA, AJYP, AAMYCS, ATASU, Goria Moria Desi Jatiya Parishad, All Moran Students� Union, All Deuri Students� Union, Chah Janagosthi Jatiya Mahasabha, Assam Gorkha Students� Union, among others. The Mancha coordinates all activities relating to Rohmaria, in consultation with the constituent associations and organisations, said the Mancha�s secretary, Sanjay Baruah.

On July 25, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) observed its 20th founding day at the Rohmaria HS School campus with a brief function. On the occasion, packets containing foodstuff and other essentials were distributed among 200 odd persons, as a matter of courtesy. The Greater Dibrugarh Marwari Yuva Mancha associated itself with this social work. The occasion was put to good use by the youth leaders who said their struggle for peoples� issues will continue till the logical conclusions.

On the occasion of the founding day function, student and youth leaders reiterated their firm commitment to the cause of Rohmaria. They said the government is doing some work in the area, but called for more intense schemes. They regretted that a scheme for protecting Rohmaria, estimated to cost about Rs 80 crore is lying at the NITI Aayog office in New Delhi for almost a year. Leaders like Hafizul Ahmed of the Goria Moria Desi Parishad and Sankarjyoti Baruah of the Dibrugarh district AASU unit said this shows the lackadaisical attitude of the Centre towards the burning issues of Assam. �Our resources are national and our problems are Assam�s own� is the attitude, they fumed.

Speaking to this reporter, the Mancha�s secretary, Sanjay Baruah said, �Now that the Rs 80 crore Flood Management Programme scheme for Rohmaria is stuck at New Delhi, we have approached the Assam government to take up smaller projects for immediate implementation.� Accordingly, at the instance of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the local Lahowal MLA, Rituparna Baruah, a couple of smaller projects are being taken up by the Assam Water Resources department for protection works at Rohmaria. These include a Rs eight-crore scheme near the Rohmaria HS School, a Rs 10-crore scheme near Bogoritolia and a Rs 25-crore project which will include the Litting area. The last named project was only announced by the Chief Minister on July 10. These works are scheduled to commence from September this year.

AJYP secretary Udayon Kumar Gogoi made a public declaration at Rohmaria on Saturday that unless actual protection works are not visible by October this year, the �government should be prepared to face a mass agitation from November.�

Baruah said the 21-year-old formal struggle of the people under the auspices of the Mancha has not yet fatigued them. �Our struggle will continue. The day we see our lands have been protected from the Brahmaputra, our Mancha will be disbanded.� Rohmaria comprises three panchayats with a total population of about 30,000 persons. Most of the local population are from the native Mottok community.

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