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Ad hoc anti-erosion steps irk villagers

Borjhar, Aug. 20: Erosion by the Brahmaputra for the past week has gobbled up vast tracts of land across a 3km stretch on the bank of the river at Guimara with villagers demanding a permanent solution to the decades-long problem.

Guimara in south Kamrup is about 50km from Guwahati.

According to the villagers, rising water of the river has wiped away about 15metres of land across a 3km stretch from Satrapara to Simina in the area.

So far, at least 20 families have to leave their homes and shift to safer locations.

Villagers who have to live with the menace at regular intervals in the past 20 years have lambasted the short-term measures by the state water resources department.

A 300-metre land spur, constructed in the village by the department about five years back, has failed to check erosion over the years.

Sources in the department said a proposal to the Asian Development Bank had been sent to extend an ongoing scheme — Integrated Flood and River Bank Erosion Risk Management Investment Programme — to the affected area from Dakhalaghat to Guimara. The scheme introduced in 2012 covers 4.9km in Palasbari which is around 4km from Guimara.

“We are against short-term measures by the department. If they are serious about protecting our village, they should work during the dry season. We need a permanent solution to erosion,” Mukuta Das, who has so far shifted to safer locations from his house for three times in the past 20 years, said.

Ramesh Pathak, who like Das had to move to safer places for as many times, has lost more than a bigha in a week. “Unabated erosion is the last nail in my coffin. We need something concrete now.”

Ranjib Rai Baruah, the executive engineer of Palashbari Gumi Project Water Resources Division, was vague in his reply when asked what the department has done to check the menace. “As the residents are opposed to short-term anti-erosion measures, we have refrained from undertaking any work,” he told this correspondent.

Residents here said they would soon convene a meeting to discuss the fate of Guimara state dispensary which is just 10 metres from the affected area.

Kamrup joint director of health services A.K. Nath said the PWD had been informed about the threat to the dispensary on Sunday.


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