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Protests stall erosion project

Jorhat, Oct. 13: AASU activists today stopped work on an anti-erosion project being executed by the Brahmaputra Board in Majuli.

Protesting against the agency’s failure to solve the problem of erosion, hundreds of AASU activists gathered at Sonia chapori near Kamalabari, where bags were being filled with sand and laid along the river’s bank to check erosion, and asked the workers to stop work on the project.

Two executives of the board, B. Choudhury and T. Saikia, had a heated argument with AASU activists. Yesterday, AASU and AJYCP activists had prevented the chairman of the board, Kashindra Yadav, from setting foot on the island for the second consecutive day. Yadav tried to visit the island, where the board has taken up several anti-erosion projects, for a post-flood assessment.

The AASU also stopped work on three pilot projects of the Brahmaputra Board at different locations yesterday. The islanders, led by the AASU and AJYCP, waved black flags at the visiting chairman, who had to return on the ferry on which he had arrived.

AASU leader Biren Saikia said the board would not be allowed to continue work on the island unless it comes up with a concrete plan to ensure the safety of the island from massive erosion. He said the board has failed to stop erosion on the island despite the fact that it had taken up several projects since 2005. “A huge amount of money has been spent on these projects but there is no result,” he said.

Yadav had told reporters yesterday that he would be leaving for Guwahati today and would be in a better position to give the latest information regarding the steps to be taken by the board for protecting the island.

The xatradhikars of Bhogpur and Bengenawati xatras of the island have decided to organise rallies along with their disciples against the failure of the authorities to protect the island from flood and erosion.