Danger looms in erosion-hit areas across Assam

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Assam has been hit by the season’s first flood affecting almost three lakh people in nine districts. Every year, the harsh rains have destroyed properties, houses, crops, and displaced people across the state. This ghastly sight is experienced during monsoons, but, the outbreak of COVID19 has caused even further chaos and anxiety.

The devastating flood situation in 2004 and 2014 in Balbala village of Goalpara district is unforgettable. Villagers of Balbala and Kokira have been severely affected by the gushing waters from Meghalaya.  The deplorable condition of the embankment has caused soil erosion and massive losses for the nearby village dwellers.

Due to the waters that flow from the hills from Meghalaya in 2004, the Jinari River’s embankment was damaged severely, leading to a land loss of at least seven breached areas of the embankment. 16 years later, the embankment remains untouched and is yet to be repaired.

Over the years, fervent appeals have been made to the water resources department for repairing the breached areas of the embankment, but, the responses and results have been futile. In fact, the flood triggered by incessant rains and the water that flows down from the Meghalaya hills has made Goalpara the worst-affected district. Pub Goalpara and West Goalpara specifically are in a disastrous state. The region now awaits Assam’s Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonwal’s announcements on strict action to be taken against the water resources department.

In districts of Goalpara and Jorhat, the government has released funds of 17 crores for the repairing of the Kakadonga River-induced erosion-hit areas and breached embankment. The government has taken initiatives for supporting flood relief to at least 10 to 12 villages that have been submerged and affected due to the floods. However, the villagers have alleged that despite the government’s efforts the repairing work has no progress. The repairing of the breached areas has been paused due to the lockdown. This unfinished work has yet again led to the rise in water levels of the Kakadonga River triggering flood situations in the region.

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