JORHAT, Aug 3 - Residents of Raghubari village, eight kms away from the historic Gaurisagar tank in Sivasagar district are living in constant fear of losing their land and property and becoming homeless due to largescale erosion on the south bank of Dikhow river over the years.
During the past 20 days, erosion by the river has reportedly increased manifold. As a result of the massive erosion by the river, villagers of Raghubari and adjoining hamlets were feeling worried as a portion of the embankment was reportedly washed away recently, thereby posing serious threat not only to their village, but to people of Dikhow, Gaurisagar, Charing and several other nearby areas too.
It may be mentioned here that the oil drilling stations of Rongpur and Bhotiapar too are located in nearby areas of Raghubari.
Villagers blame the Government, particularly the State Water Resources Department for their plight as piecemeal approaches and alleged poor quality of temporary repair works carried out by the department by engaging private contractors over the years have miserably failed to contain the erosion.
�A big project having long-term validity is required to be undertaken in the area to check erosion caused by the river by strengthening the embankment, which was built several decades ago. For the inhabitants of the area, who are on perennially on tenterhooks, has become quite normal,� quipped Ruhini Borthakur,� a resident of Raghubari.
Borthakur said that repeated pleas to the Government authorities during the past few years have not yielded any positive results as temporary measures were adopted by the department, which has not been able to protect the embankment. He wondered as to why the Government or the authorities concerned were waiting for disaster to strike, and then react in a sheepish manner.
He added that the south embankment is the only dyke of river Dikhow which protects National Highway-37 from the flood waters during the rainy season every year. Hiren Dutta, a social worker involved in conservation activities in the area, too echoed Borthakur and said a long-term protection project for the embankment was needed instead of undertaking work in bits and pieces, which has not been able to serve the purpose.
Meanwhile, the department has reportedly initiated some kind of temporary works in the area since the past few days, which however, has raised objections from the local people over the low quality of work.
A villager said that after the matter was brought to the notice of the local MLA of Amguri, Pradip Hazarika, a former minister in the AGP-led Government, he reportedly assured to take up the matter with the higher authorities and try to get things done.
Hope Pradip Hazarika�s assurance succeeds in stopping something terrible happening to the haggard residents, the villager wondered.