| A waterlogged Harucharai tea estate in Jorhat district. Picture by UB Photos
Jorhat, June 29: Artificial floods in Jorhat district have threatened the existence of a tea estate with the garden authorities today appealing to the district administration to bail it out of the crisis.
More than 50 per cent of the 174 hectares of Haru-charai tea estate, 16km from here, has been inundated by floodwaters for the last few days. “All the outlets through which the water could flow out have been blocked,” Rajib Barooah, the owner of the garden, told this correspondent today. The estate is located on the banks of Athubonga jan (stream), one of the few streams which form the drainage system of Jorhat town and is connected to the Brahmaputra.
Barooah, who is also the vice-chairman of the Assam Tea Planters Association (ATPA), said the stream was clogged with plastic bottles and other materials and had, as a result, turned shallow. This, in turn, results in water flowing over into the garden.
“More than 50 per cent of my garden has been under knee-deep water for the last few days. I fear tea bushes in large stretches would be damaged if the water does not drain out soon,” he said.
Barooah today appealed to the district administration to take necessary steps to ensure that the floodwater flows out of the estate area. “I have never witnessed such a situation in the last few decades,” he added.
A tea scientist at the Tocklai Experimental Station said a good drainage system was a must for tea bushes and if the tea plant remained under water for several days, it would die.
Admitting that the tea estate was under threat by artificial floods, the chairman of Jorhat Municipal Board, Prasanta Bora, blamed the irrigation department for it. He said the three sluice gates built by the department on the stream had resulted in the estate and its adjoining areas reeling under floodwaters.“The gates are too narrow and the floodwater is not finding its way out easily. We have taken up the matter with the irrigation department,” Bora said.
A few other gardens in the Teok area on the outskirts of the district have also been reeling under floodwaters for the past few days.
“Some areas in Chenijan and Teok tea estates had been submerged but the water is receding today,” a district administration official said.
Elsewhere in the district, the flood situation improved today with one of the two relief camps winding up and people leaving for their respective villages.
Teok circle officer Tapan Gohain said the floodwater had receded from residential areas in the villages but large parts of agricultural land were still inundated.
“The water level in the three rivers — Teok, Puthinodi and Kakajan— is decreasing,” he said. The National Highway 37 has also been cleared of floodwater.