| The flooded garden hospital at Bholaguri. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, Aug. 17: Bholaguri tea estate in Gohpur subdivision of Sonitpur district, where the first Assamese feature film Joymati by Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla was shot, has come under the threat of floods.
The historic tea estate has been inundated by floodwaters of the Balijan river, triggered by a breach in the bund on the eastern boundary of the garden.
“Water from the nearby Balijan river has inundated large areas of the estate, including the labour quarters, and severely affecting production in the last three months. There has been no work for at least 21 days since June. There has been fresh waterlogging on Sunday night. No work was done since then,” the manager of the estate, Ramesh Chutia, said over phone.
The disruption of work has resulted in severe losses to the government-owned Assam Tea Corporation Limited (ATCL) to which the garden belongs.
The PSU is trying to revive after making loses for several years.
Chutia said since June this year there had been about 10 times of waterlogging in the estate, which has hit production . He said since Monday night almost half (eight sections) of plantation area was under water and labour quarters and the defunct factory (where it is said Agarwalla had opened a mini-studio) are submerged.
He said frequent waterlogging had damaged tea bushes in large areas of the garden which has directly affected productivity and quality. Chutia said the production this year is less by 1.25 lakh kg than the corresponding period of last year and the total figure in 2011 is estimated to come down than last year.
ATCL chairman-cum-managing director Harish Sonowal told The Telegraph that they had approached the local subdivisional administration and the Gohpur MLA for funds to repair or reconstruct the bund as the PSU, which was trying to come out of the financial crisis, could not reconstruct it on its own.
“The garden has not only commercial value but is of great historical and cultural importance as the shooting of Joymati was done on the estate,” Sonowal said.