Jorhat, April 10: The AASU today disrupted functioning of the sub-divisional office in Majuli for more than two hours in protest against the government’s failure to protect the island from floods and erosion.
The student body later submitted a memorandum to sub-divisional officer Sonaram Khonikar, setting an April 30 deadline for the government to come clear about its future plans for the island.
Khonikar has taken charge as the sub-divisional officer of the island only recently.
“If the government fails to come up with some concrete plan for Majuli, we will intensify our agitation and would hold rallies at Jorhat and Dispur,” Jorhat district AASU president Biren Saikia said.
The student body had observed a black day at the island on March 31 in protest against the Brahmaputra Board’s failure to complete at least 60 per cent of its anti-erosion projects on the island.
The board had set a deadline of March 31.
The AASU alleged that the board managed to complete only 30 per cent of its work at the Salmora-Besamari portion of the island till March 31 and the work thus completed was also of poor quality.
The union had also organised road meetings on April 3 in various parts of the island to build public opinion against the Brahmaputra Board.
This morning, hundreds of AASU activists gathered in front of the sub-divisional office and prevented workers from entering the premises. They also prevented Khonikar from entering. The activists, however, allowed him to enter after two hours following assurances that he would look into the matter and take necessary steps in this regard.
“We have called off our strike since the sub-divisional officer has taken charge only a few days back, and he has promised to give a positive response before April 30,” the AASU leader said.
Sources said Brahmaputra Board, which undertook anti-erosion projects in Majuli in January 2005, has not yet completed the first phase of work, which was supposed to be complete in December 2010. The Salmora-Besamari portion of the work falls under the phase two and three.
Saikia said not only had the board assured the AASU that at least 60 per cent of the work would be complete by March 31, it had also assured Gauhati High court to do so.
The high court had admitted a PIL filed by an island resident, Manoj Bora, in 2010, which alleged a lack of will on the board’s part in carrying out anti-erosion work on the island.
The AASU leader, on the other hand, said the student body had also asked the Khonikar to improve medical facilities in Majuli and to rehabilitate the hundreds of families rendered homeless by the frequent floods and erosion on the island over the years.