| An eroded river bank in Majuli. File picture |
Jorhat, March 4: Gauhati High Court has constituted a six-member high-level committee to be headed by Assam advocate general K.N. Choudhary to monitor the progress of work undertaken by the Brahmaputra Board to contain erosion at Majuli.
The high court has also asked the committee to visit the island and file a detailed report on the matter within March 31.
The order was passed on February 24 by a two-judge bench of Justice K. Sreedhar Rao and Justice P.K. Saikia — while hearing the case relating to a PIL filed by Manoj Borah, a resident of Majuli.
Borah told reporters here today that the high court had passed the order after he complained to the court recently that work carried out by the board was moving at a “snail’s pace”.
The first phase of work, which was started in January 2005, missed its December 2010 deadline.
The bench passed the order stating that for “effective monitoring and quicker implementation of the ant-erosion work, the committee would make an on-the-spot study and file a status report to the court by March 31, 2014”.
Bora said the high court has been taking to task the board and the Centre for its “lackadaisical attitude” in executing the masterplan prepared by the board to check erosion in Majuli.
The PIL petitioner said earlier in April 2011 and July 2011, the high court imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 on the board and the Centre for casual attitude in implementing the plan meant for protection of Majuli.
Bora, quoting official reports, said 9,566 families became homeless owing to floods and erosion between 1969 and 2011. The state government has so far rehabilitated only around 500 families. He said the high court on December 4, 2013 directed the Assam government to rehabilitate the rest of the families at the earliest. Majuli has been shrinking since 1950, when an earthquake measuring over 8.6 on the Richter scale changed the course of the Brahmaputra, he said.
Bora, quoting official records, said over the years because of constant erosion, the island was reduced to 650 square km from 1,244 square km in 1950.