GUWAHATI: The Xatra fraternity of Assam sent an SOS call to the State Government to devise a scientific measure to protect one of the oldest Xatras of the State – the Bahari Xatra under Chenga LAC in Barpeta district. The Xatra set up by Mahapurush Sri Sri Haridev way back in 1453 is on the verge of being gobbled up by the Brahmaputra.
With 1,200 bighas of land belonging to the Xatra and bhakats already gobbled up by the Brahmaputra, the main structure of the Xatra is less than a kilometre from the river. The 1,100 families dotted around the Xatra are also under threat from the river.
Gauzing the threat perception well, the Asom Sattra Mahasabha (ASM) requested Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to devise measures to protect the xatra from the gobbling river.
Talking to The Sentinel, ASM general secretary Kushum Kumar Mahanta said, "The State Water Resources Department takes anti-erosion measures from time to time. However, the measures not being scientific, they can hardly prevent the erosion of the xatra land that continues unabated. It was because of erosion by the Brahmaputra around 20 xatras had to be shifted from Majuli to Jorhat, Titabor, Lakhimpur, Sivasagar, Golaghat etc. Even in lower Assam, the Moinbori Satra had to be shifted to Sorbhog in Barpeta district and the Maneri Satra to Mukalmua in Nalbari district.
"The shifting of xatras doesn't augur well as the xatras lose their pristine features to a large extent in the process. The Bahari Satra is one where Mahapurush Sri Sri Haridev used to stay. It behoves the State Government to protect such erosion-prone xatras to avoid their shifting. The preservation of xatras will keep the Assamese culture alive."
According to the ASM, the Bahari Satra has 184 bighas of land at present, barring 80 bighas that have been under encroachment. The ASM also requested the government to free the 80 bighas of land of Bahari Satra from the encroachers.