| A man wades through floodwaters at Bhowlaguri on the outskirts on Bongaigaon. Telegraph picture |
Dhubri, July 18: Nearly 10,000 residents of Bhowlaguri IX and Bhowlaguri X, under Dalgaon gaon panchayat have been facing flash floods for the last several years because of encroachment of one of the longest dongs (irrigation canal) in lower Assam.
Over the years, Bhowlaguri has developed into a semi-urban town on the outskirts of Bongaigaon.
This natural irrigation canal, which originates from Champa rivulet near Dhaligaon under BTC, was constructed during the days of former chief minister late Sarat Chandra Sinha. The canal was as long as 30km up to the inter-district border with Bongaigaon and Dhubri.
Local sources said the canal was a lifeline for the farmers as it used to irrigate lakhs of hectares of land but now it has lost its original flow of water at various points because of encroachment.
Residents of Bhowlaguri alleged that the natural canal had extensively been encroached upon at Bhowlaguri by new settlers blocking the free flow of water resulting in waterlogging every now and then during the rainy season.
“Over the years, Bhowlaguri has developed into a semi-urban township with the opening of schools, banks and market complexes, but residents reel under the impact of flash floods because of clogging and encroachment of the canal,” said Sandhya Bose, a resident of Bhowlaguri.
Daibaki Mahanta, another resident of Bhowlaguri, expressed deep resentment over the encroachment and sufferings of the residents because of the flash floods. He said the residents had written several petitions to the authorities to clear the encroachment and dig the canal but they have not taken any action yet.
“A couple of days ago, we, the residents of this area, submitted a memorandum to the Bhowlaguri gaon panchayat, Bongaigaon zilla parishad and to the Bongaigaon deputy commissioner. The deputy commissioner assured to take action against the encroachment soon,” Mahanta said.
Residents said Bhowlaguri is located between the irrigation canal and Tunia rivulet near Bongaigaon town. A road came up along the canal connecting Dhaligaon to Bhowlaguri. It is a populated area which is rapidly being urbanised and developed.
Bongaigaon deputy commissioner S.K. Nandi told The Telegraph that he had already ordered the department concerned to submit the details of the encroachment in Bhowlaguri to him.
“As soon as I get the report, I shall initiate action. Encroachments along the canal will be cleared soon,” Nandi said.