TEZPUR, July 25 � After inundation of a large area in greater Panchmile area by flash floods followingt incessant rains during the last one week, both flood and erosion have posed a serious problem to the residents of the greater area.
People of the area have expressed their strong resentment over the government�s apathy towards the problem, creating a serious threat to more than 25 villages under Sootea, Rangapara and Tezpur LACs including Salonibari Air Force Station, one of India�s most important SSB training centres, Tezpur University and many public properties including schools, madrassas, bridges and so on.
It may be mentioned that the greater area has been facing the serious problem of flood-induced erosion created by Jiabharali river since 1988 and same year the Garshinga Bihiagaon and Tengabasti falling under the greater area were completely washed away by the floodwater of Jiabharali River. In 2000, the same problem was witnessed at Panchmile channel (Panchmile Khuti) where heavy erosion was occurred and many public properties like, Panchmile Higher Secondary School, Panchmile High and ME Madrassas, Panchmile Mahila Samittee hall, Panchmile rest house and a temple had been eroded.
In the same way, the devastating flood and erosion caused by Jiabharali river has been on in Rajgarh, Singitoli, Jothaimari, Borghat, Rajbhoral, Dikoraijan, Kurukani, Samdhora, Tengabasti, Koroini, Saloibeel, Bihiagaon, Garshinga-Bihiagaon area and in a part of Bhumuraguri Hillock where the Koliabhumura bridge exists.
Meanwhile, as a temporary measure to prevent the problem, the then local MLA and Opposition leader Brindaban Goswami constructed an embankment (Janasakti baandh) in the area, but it too was breached in 2001 at Garshinga Bihiagaon. The remaining portion too was again breached in 2002 at Bihiagaon and in 2004 at Kurukani area. Afterwards, as an outcome of repeated demands of the local people and different organisations, the then MP of Tezpur Lok Sabaha constituency Monikumar Subba sanctioned an allocation of Rs. 7 lakh for the construction of the breached embankment.
At the same time people of the area alleged that the project remained incomplete following rampant corruption and serious anomalies in utilising the fund by the unscrupulous people involved for which water flowing from different streams of Jiabharali river concentrated at the area and washed away most part of Panchmile area.
Likewise, to save the greater area from the fury of river Jiabharali, in 2005 again an allocation was released from the government for construction of cofferdam in the area, which remained incomplete due to alleged misappropriation of the sanctioned funds by unscrupulous contractors and officials of the concerned department.
Meanwhile, talking to this reporter, a veteran Congress leader and a prominent teacher of the area, Seikh Sahabuddin disclosed that to eradicate the perennial sufferings of the people of the greater area in 2008-9 and 2009-10 people of the greater area demanded a guide bundh at Manshiri area to divert the river to its original channel. However, the demand came to naught.
�On the other hand, for protecting the people of the area under DRDA an embankment was constructed in the area, but it too is in a poor condition and there is no certainty at which moment it would be washed away by the river.� He further maintained that in 2007 under the guidance of VC Tezpur University, a special team from IIT (Roorkee) in cooperation with IIT Guwahati, Water Resource Department and with the help of NERIWALM visited the area and decided to take necessary steps for removing the existing boulder stoke nearby the Panchmile Bailey bridge and put porcupine and deflector in the eroded areas. In addition to it, as part of this big-budget project, a boulder spur at Manshiri for diverting the water of Jiabharali river to Brahmaputra had been included. For this project, an estimate of Rs. 18 crore had been sent to UGC, DoNER Minister, Government of India and Assam government as well.
However, till date nothing has been executed in the area for solving the vexed problem. Most of the victim families of the area who once lived a comfortable life by cultivating in their lands now a days live in relief camps. People living in this precarious state while interacting with this reporter said that protection like construction of embankment, putting of boulder spur, porcupine etc. are meaningless as a permanent solution of the long pending problem is necessary, like diverting the original channel to the Brahmaputra.