Jorhat, Feb. 8: The impasse over rebuilding the Sonowal Kachari embankment in Majuli was resolved today after the administration called an all-party meeting at Garmur Circuit House on the river island.
On February 5, the Takam Mising Porin Kebang-backed Ganashakti Party and a few other organisations stopped the Majuli Water Resources Division from rebuilding the embankment.
The Takam Mising Porin Kebang is the apex body of the Mising people in Majuli.
The next day, Majuli MLA and state water resources minister Rajiv Lochan Pegu appealed to locals to let work resume but his plea fell on deaf ears.
Members of the All Assam Students’ Union and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad were also present at today’s meeting where all the parties agreed that work should commence immediately before the monsoons arrive. But not before Pegu agreed to the Ganashakti member’s proposal that two other embankments, which had become very weak and were in danger of collapsing, should also be strengthened.
Pegu told The Telegraph that the protesters wanted a straight embankment, exactly like the earlier one that collapsed. But the water resources department said it would not be technically sustainable and wanted to build a semicircular embankment.
Majuli TMPK president Nila Doley said what the water resources division was proposing would not be able to take the pressure off the Brahmaputra.
“There was a hundred metre breach of the Sonowal Kachari bund last year. Currently, the Jabarsook Katoni bund, which is protecting Mili tiniali, and the Katar Sook bund are standing in the way of the waters of the Brahmaputra. If these break this year then the whole of Majuli will be flooded. That is why we are seeking the strengthening of these two embankments, which were constructed in the seventies,” he said.
An official of the Majuli administration said the water resources minister had agreed to the strengthening of the bunds in phases.