TEZPUR, Jan 6 - These are picnic times in the State and people of the town are of the opinion that the dead course of the Bharali river can be converted into a superb picnic and tourism spot.
It is to be mentioned here that an abandoned channel of the river which is nowadays called Marabharali runs from Mansiri to river Brahmaputra through the heart of Tezpur town. Once it was a major tributary, but following natural causes like flood and erosion, its course changed in the 1980s, leaving the course as a dead river. However, this nearly 32 km long dead river falling under the Sonitpur (West) Division of Forest Department has been the target of encroachment by illegal Bangladeshi nationals.
Expressing grave concern over the ongoing encroachment moves, social worker, former secretary of the Gahan Uddyan Management Committee and a noted journalist, Aswani Bora said that the Marabharali which plays a major role in integrating and organising the landscape and moulding the ecological settings of the basin in Tezpur, Its channel from Mansiri to Maithan flowing through the heart of the Tezpur town is presently under the threat of encroachment by a citizens of doubtful antecedents. �Recently the land along the river near the Gahan Uddyan was encroached by suspected Bangladeshis and within a few nights, many huts were seen coming up in the area. Fortunately, following quick intervention by a section of socially aware people, the move was thwarted,� Bora said.
Another noted journalist Arup Kalita describing the history of the dead river told this reporter that there is a place connected with the river known as �Jahajduba� which was once used as port by the Britishers for various businesses. But it is a matter of great concern that this place besides other locations of the river have been encroached by the Bangladeshis.
The dead river has a massive potential in various fields like tourism, fishery, sports, water sports, children�s park, indoor games alongwith multi-cropping projects which may help in adding to Tezpur�s charm. Bora mentioned that a few years back, a multi-crore project was submitted to the Department concerned during the reign of the Congress, but it was not given any importance. �Very optimistically, we have submitted another big budget project to give a new facelift to this river, and are hopeful that the new Government, which is presently laying a massive stress on the tourism sector will have a rethink,� he said adding that if their long-cherished dream of giving a facelift to the Marabharali river by implementing the aforementioned projects becomes a reality, it would be a mega step towards tourism in Tezpur and an avenue for employment generation among the unemployed youths of the region.