TEZPUR, June 15 – At a time when Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has announced special packages for the solution of the flood and erosion problem in the State, about 25 villages including Kurukani, Bihiagaon, Singitoli, Rajgarh, Borghat, Dikoraijan, Gotaimari, Nonkeygotaimari, Gorshinga, Gorchingabihiagaon, Siruonichapori, Kahloibari, Purani Alimur and Rajbhoral have been threatened due to the continuous flood and erosion posing a serious threat to the very existence of the inhabitants of the greater Panchmile area under Tezpur LAC.
Alleging negligence of the Government and the departments concerned, the people of the area said that despite repeated appeals, no proper measures have been taken to check the vexed problem following which the very existence of almost 25 villages under Sootea, Rangapara and Tezpur LACs along with the Salonibari Air Force Station, Goroimari SSB Training Centre, Tezpur University and many schools, madrassas, bridges, etc., have been threatened. It is to be stated here that the greater area has been facing the serious problem of erosion and flood created by Jiabharali river since 1988 and in the same year, the Gorshinga Bihiagaon and Tengabasti under the greater area were completely washed away by the floodwaters of Jia Bharali river. In 2011, the same problem turned to Panchmile channel passing through Gorshinga Bihiagaon where heavy erosion occurred and Panchmile High and ME Madrasas, Panchmile Mahila Samitee Hall, Panchmile Rest House and a temple had been eroded.
However, as a temporary measure to check the problem, an embankment was constructed in the area but it too was breached in 2001 at Gorshinga Bihiagaon and the remaining portion was again breached in 2002 at Bihiagaon and in 2004 at Kurukani area. Afterwards, as an outcome of the repeated pleas of the locals and different organisations, the then Tezpur MP MK Subba sanctioned an allocation of Rs 7 lakh for the construction of the breached portion of the embankment.
But it is a fact that the project has remained incomplete following alleged misappropriation of the lion’s share of the funds by unscrupulous people involved in the work, for which water flowing from different streams of Jiabharali river concentrated in the area and washed away most parts of Panchmile area.
To save the area from the fury of Jia Bharali, in 2005 again an allocation was released from government funds for the construction of a coffer dam in the area, which has remained incomplete till date due to the alleged misappropriation of the allotted funds by the contractors and officials of the department concerned .
Talking to this correspondent, a section of conscious people stated that to eradicate the great sufferings of the people of the greater area in 2007, under the guidance VC, Tezpur university, a special team from IIT (Roorkee) in cooperation with IIT Gwuahati, Water Resource department and with the help of NERIWALM here visited the entire area and after visiting greater area, the team suggested removal of the existing boulder stack near the Panchmile Bailey bridge and putting porcupines and deflectors in the eroded areas.
As a part of this big-budget project, a boulder park at Mansiri for diverting the water of Jiabharali river to Brahmaputra was included. For this project, an estimate of Rs 18 crore was also planned but practically nothing has been done in the area.
For the record, it needs mention here that recently, a sizable amount of funds was allotted in the area for repair works but a section of local contractors with vested interests allegedly siphoned off the funds for most of the works have remained incomplete.
On the other hand, unabated erosion has turned serious at the Dikoraijan area where one madrassa along with the Air Force Station, SSB Training Centre and the Tezpur University are threatened.