TEZPUR, Aug 14 - The people of greater Panchmile area, particularly those living on the bank of the Jiabaharali river and its peripheral areas, have sought a permanent solution from the flood and erosion problems.
For years, flood and erosion have been causing untold misery to thousands of people in the area. Expressing dissatisfaction with the State Government and the local administration for their indifferent attitude towards the problem, the local residents said that 25 villages are facing serious threat to their existence from the twin problems. The worst affected areas are � Napam, Kurukani, Amula Pam, Kachokoni, Jugloni, Bhalukjarani Chapori, Panchmile Centre, Bihiagaon, Salonibari air force station � among others.
The Jiagabharu river has been creating flood and erosion problems since 1988. It completely washed away the Garshinga Bihiagaon and Tengabasti under Tezpur LAC in the same year.
However, in 2000, the same problem was visible at Panchmile Centre where heavy erosion occurred and many public properties � Panchmile Higher Secondary School, Panchmile High and ME Madrasas, Panchmile Mahila Samittee Hall, Panchmile Rest House and a temple � were eroded.
However, as a temporary measure, the then local MLA and Opposition leader, Brindaban Goswami, constructed an embankment in the area. But that was breached too in 2001 at Garshinga Bihiagaon and remaining portion of the embankment was again breached in 2002 at Bihiagaon and at Kurukani area in 2004.
Later, as a result of repeated appeals by the local people and different organisations, the then MP, MK Subba, sanctioned Rs 7 lakh for repair of the breached portions. However, it is alleged that the project remained incomplete as the total allocation was siphoned off.
In 2005, another allocation of a sizable amount of fund was released by the government for the construction of a cofferdam in the area, which also could not get completed because of the alleged misappropriation of the fund by the contractors in nexus with the departmental officials and the local political leaders.
However, in 2007, under the guidance of Tezpur University�s Vice-Chancellor, a special team from IIT-Roorkee in cooperation with IIT-Gwuahati, Water Resource Department and officials of North Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management (NERIWALM) visited the area and decided to take necessary steps like setting up a boulder park at Mansiri for diverting the river to Brahmaputra.
A budget of Rs 18 crore was also estimated and submitted to the UGC, DoNER Minister and Government of Assam, and Central Government as well, but all in vain.
The local residents also expressed dissatisfaction over the Government�s indifferent attitude towards the dilapidated road condition in the area. The roads connecting Duilabari-Panchmile, Napam-Khonamukh, Panchmile-Solmara and the roads that connect the area with Tezpur University are the worst affected.
According to the local residents, dilapidated road conditions have been affecting trade and industrial growth of the area. It has also become a major problem for students studying in the local schools and colleges.
Knee-deep potholes have been posing a serious threat to the pedestrians as well as the motorists. Though, realising the importance of these roads, the Central Government had sanctioned crores of rupees for the construction of these roads, but due to alleged irregularities, the progress of the works on the scheme has been delayed.
One of the social workers of Napam area, Ameo Kumar Bhuyan, alleged that though Rs 4.5 crore had been sanctioned under PMGSY Scheme to reconstruct these roads, some portion of these roads � covering about 20 km � have remained in a pitiable condition.
Though, some portions of these roads were constructed, due to the poor construction, it has started to wear off. The people of the area have urged the Government to do the needful for the solution to these long-pending problems of the greater area.
Meanwhile, a PIL was submitted in the Guahati High Court by social worker, lawyer, Advocate Subha Biswah, requesting the court to take steps to check the perennial erosion and flood caused by the Jiabharali river.
Talking to this correspondent, he said, �Ever year, during summer, more than 50 villages go under flood water.� He added that the Government has already sanctioned funds, but no measures have been taken to deal with the problem.
�We have requested the Government through the PIL to take scientific measures to protect the area, by forming an expert committee, so that the problem could be solved permanently and to rehabilitate the affected people and provide them adequate compensation,� he said.
On the other hand, already an allocation of Rs 43 crore has been sanctioned by Tezpur MP, RP Sharma, for taking up special measures to protect the Tezpur University from the fury of the Jiabaharali river.