NORTH LAKHIMPUR, May 17 � The embankment off the river Durpang in Lakhimpur district, which is in under construction state, collapsed on two places following soil mining on its close proximity by the contractor company with full knowledge of the concerned departments.
The fast-flowing Durpang river which originates from neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh has been affecting the villagers of the western Lakhimpur district annually with flood and erosion. The Water Resources Department started construction of an embankment off the river with a cost of Rs 10 crores and works has been in progress.
However, the collection of soil for the embankment from its close proximity on the river side by the contractor company has made the course of the river to move towards the embankment resulting in erosion. This has affected the embankment on the Naharani and Pichala area under Narayanpur Revenue Circle of the district where it collapsed to several feet from its original height. So far the Water Resources Department of Lakhimpur district has put bamboo poles and sand bags to stop the approaching course of the river from hitting the embankment.
In a related incident angry villagers gheraoed officials of State Water Resources Department who went for inspection of the work on embankments off river Ranganadi recently. A Water Resource department team comprising its assistant chief engineer, executive engineer of the same department from Lakhimpur and local MLA visited the construction site of the Ranganadi embankment on its right side on May 12 where hundreds of people from nearby villages of Dambukial, Joinpur and Gopalpur detained the officials and the MLA for several hours while protesting the weakening of the existing embankment by felling trees and removing their roots from its surface in a bid to strengthen it. It may be recalled that work on the strengthening and reconstruction of the Ranganadi embankment has been stalled on a specific stretch following a High Court order last year because of complains by Shivam Transcon, a bidding party for the contract of that construction work. However the High Court gave another order allowing construction of the embankment on the breached portion at Kharkati. But the indiscriminate felling and uprooting of trees on the embankment by the construction company has resulted in the weakening of the embankment from its natural strength. This made the local villagers furious as the rainy season is approaching and they detained the inspecting team in protest. Later, police from the Panigaon Police Station secured the inspecting team from the crowd.