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Work on Brahmaputra embankment begins


BARPETA, March 9 � Amidst apprehension of misuse of funds and protest from the public over the reasonability of building an embankment on the Brahmaputra without checking erosion and demanding proper and timely compensation of the requisitioned land the work on the controversial embankment in the Bahari Pazarbhanga sector in Barpeta district began on Sunday. Deputy commisioner of Barpeta Phanidhar Kalita and MLA Chenga constituency inaugurated the construction work by breaking coconuts and laying shovels of earth on the Fulbari point of the embankment in presence of several dignitaries and large crowd.

Speaking to newsmen on the spot the deputy commissioner informed that the length of the embakment would be 4.6 km from Fulbari in the east to Dakreswar in the West and it will cost an estimated 5.75 crore rupees. The amount has already sanctioned by the State government under Calamity Relief Fund. Earlier addressing a public meeting at Goma Fulbari presided over by Tazuddin Ahmed president of the Brihattar Dakshin Pub Barpeta Brahmaputra Garakhahaniya Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, Kalita stated that the State Government is very much serious about the ongoing erosion in this part of Barpeta district. He informed that he has even apprised the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi about this grave problem and about the requirement of funds on 17 February last.

The deputy commissioner further informed that a scheme worth about twelve lakh rupees has been submitted to divert the streams of the river which will not only protect the famous Bahari Satra from the onslaught of erosion but also restore 120 hectaes of agricultural land. Referring to the issue of compensation of land acquired for the purpose of building the embankment which the people had raised strongly the deputy commissioner said that the embankment built two years back was under NREGA and there was no provision of compensation . But this time due compensation will be paid to those who have to loss lands in the process.

Earlier speaking on the occasion Gunindra Nath Das and Liakat Ali Khan, MLAs of Barpeta and Chenga constituencies respectively emphasised on the needs on checking corruption in implementing this scheme. They indicated that corruption is the main reason behind the futility of several schemes worth crores of rupees impemented in this area for preventing erosion. Both the MLAs lauded the role of the present deputy commissioner Phanidhar Kalita for his initiative in sanctioning the schemes and supervising the implementation process.

Muktar Hussain, ex MLA also spoke in the meeting and requested all concerned to keep vigil on proper utilisation of fund. He also urged the Water Resource Department and the district administration to attend all the parts facing erosion equally as erosion in a small area is surely to nullify the huge schemes executed in a nearby area.

Farmers both in the meeting and outside raised strong objection to the aquisation of lands withot paying adequate compensation. They stated that they have been deprived of their dues in several occasions in the name of building embankments. However they were pacified with the assurance of the deputy commissioner and the MLAs that they will not face a similar fates as earlier.

It is worth mentioning here that this the second embankment to be built in less than two years as the one built in 2008 was washed away by the mighty Brahmaputra within four months from its construction. This area was wide open for the river during the flood season of 2009. Fortunately there was no flood last year . Flood water of Brahmaputra entering through this area would have directly affected 129 villages under Barpeta, Chenga and Sarthebari revenue circles in Barpeta district.

Though the district administration had undertaken initial works to build the embankment last year it could not proceed further due to the opposition of the local people. Their main contention was that building of an embankment is futile without effectively checking erosion. The people have been annoyed and disgusted at repeated breach and collapse of embankment in this locality for the last fifty years. Besides there was demand of compensation of land to be lost to the construction work.

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