Never prevent a river

Published: Monday 15 December 2003

-- (Credit: Nava Thakuria)Massive erosion along the southern bank of the Brahmaputra in its 150-kilometre course from Hatimura to Kapilimukh in Nagaon district in Assam has placed people's lives -- indeed entire towns -- in peril. The situation is really serious. A 125 km long embankment from the Hatimura hills to the Kukurakata hills, constructed in 1971 and facing erosion for the last 10 years, has been severely threatened this fortnight. with the Brahmaputra washing away the plains between the hills. "Over 800 hectares of land at Hatimura, Baneswar, Baghjan, Kukurkata have been severely affected. Even the world famous Kaziranga National Park is facing a threat," said D R Sharma, an office bearer of Nature's Havoc Protection Society, a local non-governmental organisation.

Meanwhile the locality has witnessed several visiting vips making loud noises and large claims. While ex-Assam chief minister P K Mahanta blamed both state and central governments, Bijaya Chakrabarty, the union minister of state for water resources, criticised the Tarun Gogoi led Congress government in Assam. Outspoken Chakrabarty, visiting on November 5, claimed her ministry had not received any proposal from the Assam government regarding the Hatimura crisis.

The deputy commissioner of Nagaon district Prateek Hajela has informed that the administration had taken some temporary measures, such as making a bamboo structure, to prevent further erosion. "Of course, it would need long-term measures to save the locality," he admitted. Water experts based in Guwahati have, however, claimed that the spur of the Kaliabhomora bridge connecting Nagaon and Tezpur districts has prevented the river's natural flow, thus causing the rapid erosion.

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