From Our Special Correspondent
Silchar, March 7: Erosion across Barak Valley caused by the crisscross river system has assumed a serious dimension. One of the grim pictures is of Roypur-Manikpur E&D village under Salchapra block in Borkhola constituency of Cachar. The erosion which started in 1984 has taken in its grip a stretch of 2.5 km area. As a consequence, 10 GPs and a part of this town have fallen in the clutch of the continuing erosion. It is unpredictable how many GPs wait for the calamity. Quite strange, till date 7,000 bighas of paddy land have been badly affected, but no preemptive measures taken up by the Water Resource Department (WRD).
Ministers and MLAs have come and gone with assurances. It was Altaf Hussain Mazumder, then minister of PWD, elected from this constituency took up the threat of erosion with flood control department. A team of officials led by chief engineer at his behest visited the area and after detail inspection prepared a plan and estimate for protecting the embankment. It remained on paper only. After that came Dr. Abdul Matin, elected as MLA from the area, but he could do nothing. Misbahul Islam Laskar, who also became minister in the State cabinet, failed to exert his power or authority.
Dr. Rumi Nath, who was MLA for two terms from the constituency, could do nothing except hitting the media headlines for her controversial acts. The present MLA Kishore Nath, as said by Rukan Uddin, an elderly citizen, worried at the phenomenon made a survey of the eroded and under erosion areas. His plan of action remains unknown. Rukan Uddin further revealed when Sontosh Mohan Dev was the minister of steel and heavy industries, got a plan and estimate prepared for Rs.84 crore which was rejected by the state government. During the heavy floods of 2016, the situation became more grim.
Manohar Misra, a resident of the area, recollected after hundreds of people affected by erosion of their hearths and homes demonstrated before the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar. At his initiative Prerana Sharma, IAS, assistant commissioner, with the team of water resource department, held a meeting with the representatives of Roypur-Manikpur village. After being briefed by them about the problem, she got a plan and estimate of Rs.28 crore ready which was sent to Dispur during 2011-2012. Dispur in turn forwarded it to the North East Council (NEC) at Shillong. It is yet to be sanctioned and there hangs the story.
In the meantime, the latest information is that 90 metres of more areas have gone into the riverbed of Barak. In the process, culverts, residential houses and paddy land have disappeared. One of the causes for continuing threat of erosion as told by Sanju Dey, also an inhabitant, is that in 2009, a sum of Rs.1.5 crore was sanctioned to take up protective measures. The work was taken up 100 metres away and not from the zero point. This gap has proved to be fatal and leading to havoc. The objections raised by the residents then were blown away by the contractor and officials of the water resource department. With the impending onset of monsoon, 60,000 people of the vast areas are in the grip of fear to think of the shape of things to come. Their main arterial Silchar-Kalain road is in worst condition through which around 25,000 people commute every day. No solution is seen in the sight.