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Ranganadi erodes dyke in N Lakhimpur

Wild buffaloes taking shelter on a highland in the flooded Poba Reserve Forest at Jonai in Dhemaji district, on Sunday. – Photo: Pritam Kumar Das
 NORTH LAKHIMPUR, July 15 - The rising water of Ranganadi on Sunday caused cracks on its embankment near North Lakhimpur causing panic among the villagers of the nearby areas.

The swelling river has been creating cracks by tearing away the geo-mats on its left-hand-side embankment in Gobarisali near North Lakhimpur. This prompted the District Water Resources department to take up repair works on the damaged side of the embankment. The department has laid tree trunks tied in metal cords to hold the soil of the embankment of the cracked portions. Installation work of concrete porcupine has also been on to divert the speedy current of the river hitting the embankment.

At the same time works are also going on for protecting the threatened embankment in Gobarisali on the other side with erection of bamboo walls with sand filled bags.

It may be recalled here that the left-hand-side embankment of Ranganadi river was breached by the dam-induced flood of NEEPCO’s hydro-electric plant in 2017. An official of the Lakhimpur district WR department present at the site blamed the release of dam water by NEEPCO’s Ranganadi hydro electrical plant inside Arunachal Pradesh as the cause of the damage to the embankment.

The Lakhimpur district authority, on May 11 this year, held a meeting with NEEPCO’s RHEP officials in North Lakhimpur asking them to take pre-emptive measures to tackle the situation that recurs every monsoon due to the release of dam water. The NEEPCO was also asked to release dam water up to 200 mm on a daily basis to avoid damages in the downstream areas of Ranganadi river in Lakhimpur district in that meeting. But the PSU engaged in 500 MW Ranganadi hydro-electrical power plant in Yazali, Arunachal Pradesh has been inconsistent in its response.

This time NEEPCO has been repeatedly releasing huge amount of dam water on the downstream of Ranganadi. Villagers present in the site also blamed the construction of a dyke to protect the nearby Dejoo Tea Estate in 2015 which changed the course of Ranganadi river from its original one to the Zoihing river near Gobarisali. The repeated thrashing by dam-induced flood water on the right-hand-side embankment, constructed at a cost of more than Rs 300 crores, is now raising questions on sustainability of the flood protection measure meant for North Lakhimpur.

Meanwhile, flood situation continues to be grim in other places of Lakhimpur district as all major rivers have been flowing above the danger level at several places since Saturday night. River Subansiri has been flowing above the danger level at Dhalghat, Ghancharai and Silikhaguri in Lakhimpur district and Dikrong in Sesa Pathar and the Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger level at Jamuguri. The Brahmaputra also has flooded many areas in Jamuguri ferry ghat in Dhalpur inundating more than 15 villages.

At the Lower Subansiri hydro electrical power plant site at Gerukamukh, surge in the water level of the river has forced it to flow above the level of the under-construction dam. The river has also caused massive erosions in its downstream areas in Dirpai, Sonapur and Bhimpora areas of Lakhimpur district. So far flood has affected 75,000 people in 137 villages in Lakhimpur district damaging 337 hectares of agricultural land.

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