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Over 2,000 bighas of siltation-hit cropland rendered unfit for cultivation at Pukhura

By Ramen Kalita

NALBARI, Aug 11 - The farmers of Pukhura village under Dharmapur LAC in Nalbari district have failed to start their sali cultivation this season as the flood waters of the Buhradia river deposited heavy silt on their fertile land.

As the river breached about 300 metres of its left embankment, the entire cropland of the village has been transformed into barren land overnight which has snatched away all hopes of the farmers of reaping a bountiful harvest in the near future.

Over 2,000 bighas of cropland in the village have been damaged due to deposition of silt approximately 2/3 feet deep, informed Bhaben Barman, an old farmer of the village.

While talking to this correspondent, Barman said that sali crop had so long been the mainstay of his family, which has now become totally uncertain following the embankment�s breach.

�My 16 bighas of cropland is under three feet of silt deposited by the floodwaters of the Buhradia river and there is no possibility of paddy cultivation in the near future,� he lamented.

Barman added that over the years he had constructed two pucca houses with income generated by cultivation of sali crop in his said plot of land. According to him, he is not the only farmer adversely affected by the breach of the embankment as hundreds of other farmers too in the vast area have also lost their source of livelihood due to the heavy siltation and resultant destruction of prime cropland.

It may be mentioned here that the embankment of the Buhradia river maintained by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) is too weak to withstand the intensity of water volume during the monsoon season. As a result, the river breaches its embankment at two/three places every year.

The river breached its embankment at three places of the revenue circle this time. Though the people of Paschim Nalbari Revenue Circle have been demanding to hand over the maintenance of this embankment to the Water Resources Department, no step has been taken so far.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal recently visited the breached site and directed the Water Resources Department to immediately fix the breached portions.

He further assured that the embankment will very soon be handed over to the Water Resources Department. Following his visit, the Water Resources Department has been working to repair the breached portion round the clock.

According to sources, funds for the construction are yet to be sanctioned. However, the Water Resources Department submitted an estimate worth Rs 36.45 crore for strengthening of the entire embankment. After receiving formal sanction for this project, widening and strengthening work on the embankment will start, it was learnt.

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