Biswanath Chariali, May 7: Around 50 bighas of agricultural land were reportedly eroded by the Brahmaputra along the southern part of Biswanath during the first part of this month on account of the lackadaisical attitude of the Water Resources Department of Assam, alleged local people.
A project under the nomenclature ‘Protection of Biswanath Panpur including areas of upstream Silamari and far downstream Bhumuraguri to Boragaon against erosion of the river Brahmaputra’ was taken up under Flood Management Programme (FMP)-XII at an estimated cost of Rs 170 crore and achieved considerable progress. The work of the scheme was started in the month of February, 2015 and substantial progress was achieved up to March, 2016 and about 21 per cent of State share was released against the said project by the Water Resources Department. Contractors engaged in the project disclosed that they had put all effort to complete the work on time, but failed to do so due to early flood season in 2016. The executed protection works successfully withstood the thrust of the river Brahmaputra and no erosion or damage was observed during the flood in 2016. When the flood season was over, the contractors again started the work but no payment was allegedly made against their progress of work by the government.
The contractors, thus, engaged in the aforesaid project refused to continue with their work further and hence the scheme remained incomplete due to non-realization of payment of their bills. Therefore, heavy damages took place at Solmari area during the flood in 2017 and major portion of the embankment was eroded. Local people had expressed apprehension that there would be heavy damage to the already executed work if no work or repairing was taken up before the flood season started this year. Proving the affected people’s apprehension true, a large tract of land was eroded.
On the other hand, local people alleged that even 50 per cent of work was not completed by the department in the Bhojmari and Silamari areas. Around 1.6 km of area covering the villages had to be protected by constructing a dyke at an estimated cost of Rs 96 crore. Thus, the unrepaired dykes posed serious threat to the people of entire Biswanath LAC in the Biswanath district. Though a deadline for repairing the dykes was fixed on April 30 by the State government, yet it seems that the Water Resources Department has not bothered to take timely action in Biswanath, alleged affected villagers.