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Majuli residents gherao officials

Jorhat, Sept. 18: Residents of Bhogpur in Majuli today gheraoed and heckled officials of the Brahmaputra Board who had gone to oversee how work erosion control was progressing in the area.

The angry crowd demanded more people and boats to set up porcupines in the area so that when the waters receded the erosion threat to the embankment would be minimal.

Majuli sub-divisional officer Laya Maduri said the work was being done with only one boat and they were demanding three boats to ferry the posts for the porcupines.

“The sub-divisional police official and other police personnel have been deployed at the spot and no untoward incident has occurred. After the incident, the board has called for two more boats to speed up the work,” she said.

Regarding the erosion threat, Maduri said the water levels had risen and the people feared that main embankment on which the Kamalabari-Bongaon Road was constructed would be breached and inundate a huge swathe of land, including the Bhogpur and Bengenaati xatras.

“There is a possibility of erosion once the waters recede but not right now. However, a few families have been forced to shift out from the area because of the rising water level,” she said.

A source said unremitting erosion over the years in the place had resulted in the river flowing just 50 metres from the embankment, which was nearly 200 metres away.

“The Brahmaputra Board has failed to take proper measures and there will be a huge catastrophe involving lives and properties if this embankment is breached,” the source said.

On September 14, xatradhikars of the Bhogpur and Bengenaati Xatras held a sit-in apprehending that the Brahmaputra would gobble up the two xatras, which are on this side of the embankment and nearest to the river.