JORHAT, July 9: People of 38 erosion-hit villages of the north-western part of Jorhat district came out on the streets to protest over the threat posed by the Brahmaputra at Neol gaon and Laliti Chapori on Monday. They started dumping sand-filled bags and laid bamboo and branches as the government had allegedly totally failed to take steps to check erosion despite the assurance given by State Water Resources Minister Keshav Mahanta who announced that Rs 34.50 crore had been released for repairing the erosion-hit site at Laliti Chapori. “The erosion problem in the area has turned grave, so much so that today people had to come out and take steps to control the erosion. This is a shame for people’s representatives like minister Keshav Mahanta and local MLA Bhaben Bharali,” said Jayanta Pegu, one of the protesters.
According to Pranjit Pegu, a senior citizen of Neol Gaon-Laliti Chapori area, if the government does not take immediate steps to lay geobags then it will be difficult for people of more than 40 villages to live here as the NH-37 from Jorhat to Numaligarh will be affected permanently if the bundh gets washed away.
In the past two years, 1,000 hectares of land were washed away by the mighty Brahmaputra while 500 hectares of land have been eroded recently. The situation is turning from bad to worse following which local people burnt the effigy of Dergaon MLA Bhaben Bharali and State Water Resources Minister Keshav Mahanta.
Moreover, TMPK and MNK warned the Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government that if no steps are taken to check the continuous erosion, they will not allow any political party to enter the flood and erosion-affected areas for campaigning or seeking votes ahead of the panchayat polls, said Dilip Pegu, a TMK member.