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Riverside people want Brahmaputra tamed


MIRZA, July 16 - Tall claims by the Assam Government about protecting lives and properties of people living in the riverine areas has come a cropper as recurring floods and erosion over the years have pushed thousands of such homeless/landless families to the edge of survival. In fact the perennial problem is yet to be brought under control, as has been amply proved by the unabated erosion by the mighty Red River in several South Kamrup villages.

Sources informed that flood-induced river bank erosion has been reported in several villages of Palasbari LAC in South Kamrup district. Soon after the first and second waves of flood this year, erosion has taken a severe turn at Pub Bardia, Bhatkhowadia and Pagladia char villages at Palasbari LAC in South Kamrup district.

During the last 10 years, nearly 70 percent of the char villages under Palasbari LAC have been gobbled up by the swirling waters of the Brahmaputra.

Sources said that several villages of Palasbari LAC such as Kalapani Part-I & Part-II, Kalardia, Hengratari, Bhurakata etc., have already disappeared from the map due to heavy erosion. Almost 80 percent of the Pagladia char villages under Palasbari LAC has already been eroded and the remaining 20 percent of Pagladia villages are expected to disappear this year from the physical map altogether, thus compelling over 200 families to become homeless, and obviously landless.

Fresh erosion by the Brahmaputra has also been reported at Futuri village in Palasbari LAC, while a huge plot of land located on the west side of land Spur No. 1 at Futuri village was eroded last week. Not surprisingly, no anti-erosion measures were taken to check erosion at Futuri village.

On the other hand, in Chamaria Revenue Circle under Boko LAC, erosion has eroded a major part of the newly- constructed Panikhaity Char Primary Hospital which was constructed just two years back by investing crores of rupees for providing healthcare facilities to the people of the char villages of Boko and Chhaygaon LACs. The above is a clear case of poor planning by the concerned officials.

Several people have in the meantime questioned the concerned authorities as to the rationale behind constructing a hospital in an erosion-prone area without considering its future safety.

�Formidable erosion has been occurring at Panikhaity, Garur Char, Luteria, Polimangal etc villages since the past several years and many families have reportedly shifted to safer places this year after their homes and hearths were washed away by the Brahmaputra,� said Abdur Rouf, a denizen of Panikhaity-Sontoli area under Boko LAC in Kamrup district.

Rouf said erosion has been occurring in Boko LAC since the past 10 years and several villages such as Jatia Part-I and Part-II of Boko LAC have already disappeared from the map due to erosion.

It is also alleged that over 70 percent of Garur Char, 70 percent of Polimangal and 60 percent of Luteriadia and Panikhaity villages under Chamaria Revenue Circle in South Kamrup district have already been eroded, thereby compelling thousands of families of those villages to become paupers in the process.

The Deputy Commissioner of South Kamrup district, Rajiv Prakash Baruah had recently visited the erosion-affected areas of Panikhaity in Boko LAC along with senior officials of the Water Resources Department and took stock of the overall situation.

In the adjoining char under Chenga Revenue Circle too, erosion has been wreaking havoc in some villages. Morikhandi char village is also on the verge of being totally wiped out.

Unabated erosion has also been reported in Chhaygaon LAC. Vast tracts of fertile land belonging to poor farmers of Batahidia, Maghuwa, Khetrapara, Balagaon and Saralpara villages have been eroded.

Dilwar Hussain of Batahidia char informed that over 5-6 families had lost their entire alluvial land to the Brahmaputra � the only male river in Hindu cosmology � this year. �My family owned 50 bighas of land at Batahidia char. But my entire land was eroded during the last three years by the Brahmaputra, rendering us landless and homeless, turning us into destitutes.

Similar is the case with regard to families of Sahed Ali, Jakir Ali and Buja Ali, to name a few, who also lost their entire land holdings to the Brahmaputra. Last year too, several families of the char villages in Chhaygaon LAC were displaced by erosion. I would urge the new Deputy Commissioner of South Kamrup to assess the intensity of land erosion in our villages and launch immediate anti-erosion measures,� said Dilwar Hussain.

Sonabar Ali, president of Kurihamari Gaon Panchayat said that three Gaon Panchayats under Barkhetri LAC have been on the verge of disappearance. He said that the famous Nepali Basti, Naobajchar and famous Budhboria Bazar of Bhangonmari GP have been lost.

�Presently, erosion by the Brahmaputra has been heavily eroding fresh areas of Ghularpar village under Bhangonmari GP, a dairy village under Kurihamari GP and the Kalarchar Higher Secondary School under Kalarchar GP in Barkhetri LAC, though no measures have till date been initiated to arrest the disturbing trend,� said Sonabar Ali.

Despite surviving from day to day at the mercy of the Brahmaputra, the aggrieved public, though somewhat resigned to fate, have pleaded for immediate launching of proven anti-erosion measures in the vulnerable villages of South Kamrup and its adjoining districts, besides urging the Government to tame the turbulent Brahmaputra.

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