TEZPUR, March 13 � When an elected government and its representatives continuously fail to address the common people�s issues, the people themselves come out to find a solution to their problems. The same thing has happened in the Jiagabharu-Missamari area under the Dhekiajuli LAC, which falls under the Tezpur Lok Sabha segment in Sonitpur district, as the citizens have failed to attract both their representatives and the agencies concerned towards their long-standing issues since the last five years.
Jiagabharu is a large area comprising three villages including Jiagabharu A, B and C adjacent to the Sonai-Rupai sanctuary on the banks of the Gabharu river and its tributaries, Diputa and Gelgeli. However, it must be noted here that since the last few years, floods and erosion have been causing untold misery to hundreds of families in the area.
The Gabharu and its two major tributaries have been posing a serious threat to the very existence of Jiagabharu A, B and C villages and the Sonai-Rupai sanctuary. Social workers Toyakanta Chetry and Dimbeswar Nath told this correspondent that due to the severe erosion during the summer season, thousands of bighas of residential and agricultural plots and swathes of land in the Sonai-Rupai area have been eroded. The people of the area, who have been living on the banks of the Gabharu river covering a distance of about 3 km, have expressed strong resentment at the alleged indifferent attitude of the agencies concerned and local MLA Habul Chakrabarty towards tackling the severe erosion caused by the Gabharu river since the last many years.
�On several occasions, representations were submitted to the departments concerned including Water Resources, Forest and the district administration, but no result has been achieved till date. The two social workers added that apart from an assistance of Rs 5 lakh from the MP�s Fund during the summer of 2012 to check erosion, no major initiative has been taken up by the agencies concerned till date. �With this allocation, a few spurs and porcupines were installed. But due to technical faults, the problem has persisted,� they added.
Moreover, the Sonai-Rupai sanctuary, spread over an area of 220 sq km, has been denuded due to the unabated erosion by the Gabharu river on the eastern part of the sanctuary. �Because of the ongoing erosion problem, a 220-sq km area out of the 500 sq km area of the sanctuary has been eroded due to which elephants and other wild animals stray into human habitats to destroy crops and houses,� Dimbeswar Nath said.
Miffed at not getting any help from the Government and public representatives of the LAC, the villagers have got together to excavate an additional channel to divert the existing river to its original stream. Rathindra Kumar Dey and Gopal Deka, a Forest official, told this correspondent that as the authorities have �failed to do the needful to protect the Sonai-Rupai sanctuary� and the villages adjacent to it, the people of the area have been forced to engage in the task of diverting the river by digging an extra channel for which an excavator has been pressed into service. �We are spending Rs 7,000 every day on our own for this voluntary act by collecting the money from our people. We hope that we will be able to check the problem with public cooperation,� they maintained.