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Workers toil on May Day for survival

By Staff correspondent

DIBRUGARH, May 1 � Even as various trade unions took pride in celebrating May Day in various parts today, hundreds of tea garden workers, wage earners and farmers living along the fringe areas of Brahmaputra near here had to refrain from observing the International Day to offer their labour to cary out anti-erosion measures.

A large number of villagers and workers residing alongside the Brahmaputra in Panbari, Nagaghuli and Greenwood tea estate, some 25 kilometres from here, toiled the whole day to erect bamboo spurs to divert the canal and control the current of the Brahmaputra that is eroding alarming portions of the earth. The erosion near the Nagaghuli Ghat and Panbari area is more threatening. The river water is about 30 metres away from the age old Brahmaputra dyke. The river has already swallowed about 100 metres of land from Panbari to Nagaghuli stretch in the last few days.

It needs to be mentioned here that since 1954 about eight lakh people of Assam have been displaced and erosion has caused a loss of 4, 25, 932 hectares of land throughout Assam. Likewise in the area � from Bogibeel in Dibrugarh district to Dhola Hatighuli in Tinsukia district, touching Maijan, Nagaghuli and Rohmoria, more than two hundred villages, about fifty big tea estates, schools and lands of large number of small tea growers and farmers have been eroded.

Several organisations including Asam Sahitya Sabha (ASS), students� bodies, Krishak Mukti Sangram Sammittee, Flood and Erosion Resistance Struggle Forum, Rohmoria Gorakhonia Pratirudh Sangram Manch and many more have been raising the issue constantly but very little has been done to contain the erosion. People of Rohomoria is known to be worst hit by both flood and erosion by the Brahmaputra. The river has swallowed at least 25 villages and parts of tea gardens in this area.

Although E & D Department rushed with trucks of boulders to contain the erosion and erect some �A� shaped concrete spurs along the eroding stretch since yesterday, the workers of the affected area, both young and old are carrying out anti-erosion measures on their own. The villagers and tea garden workers have donated bamboos, tress and making use of all available resources to check further damage. At least three May Day programmes in the area were cancelled to enable all the erosion hit people to arrest the continuing erosion. Teres Goala, ex ATTSA leader and former AGP candidate of Lahoal constituency was also seen lending his skilled hands for construction of the spurs.

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