Majuli residents pin hope on Sonowal to save island

Majuli residents pin hope on Sonowal to save island

Majuli residents pin hope on Sonowal  to save island

Seventy-year-old Deben Bora of Padumani village in Majuli Island is one of thousands living in makeshift huts on the embankments after the Bramaputra washed away his land and home six years back.

“I still cannot forget the horror of that day. I was happy to see the ripening sugarcane. I felt that I would be able to repay my loan with the bumper crop.

Around midnight, I heard a rumble and ran out. I watched in horror as the Brahmaputra washed away 5 hectares of my land. My last crop was gone, then I lost my home and everything to the river,” said Bora, sitting on the bank of the river, even as a rally of BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal goes past his village.

In the past 20 years, Bora has seen the Brahmaputra washing away piece of his land thrice.  It is not Bora alone, over 10,000 families in Majuli, once the world’s largest river island, have been rendered landless, homeless and jobless by the river. 

Out of the 1.15 lakh voters who would decide Sarnabanda’s fate, thousands are yet to get compensation for land they lost 20 years back.

According to government record, erosions by Brahmaputra in Majuli stated after Assam was hit by major floods in 1950, when a massive earthquake changed the course of the river. The island has been reduced to 514 sq km from 1,244 sq km.

As many as 9,566 families have been rendered homeless since 1969 due to sustained erosion. The government said it has provided rehabilitation to 500 families. 

“If this continues, Majuli would soon reports farmer deaths like we hear in Maharastra. Hundreds of farmers have turned into daily wagers in other towns. Many took to fishing. 

The state and the Centre did very little. If BJP comes to power, it has to show the will to solve Majuli’s worries,” said Rudra Sarma, a senior citizen from the island. 

 The Brahmaputra Board, a statutory body set up by the Centre to tackle the perennial floods in the Northeast, has been carrying out anti-erosion projects such as filling breaches and strengthening embankments. 

Militants’ killing

On a day when campaigning for the first phase of Assam polls ended, army deployed in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district killed two senior cadres of the Karbi People’s Liberation Tiger (KPLT) and arrested another from a dense forest on Saturday, DHNS reports from Guwahati.
This has resulted in a strict security cover in Upper Assam where polling is going to take place on April 4. “The troops started an operation in the Kalyani reserve forest on Friday. The troops came in contact with armed insurgent cadres around 5 pm and on being challenged, the terrorists attempted to escape and fired indiscriminately on army troops. This forced the army troops to fire and in the gun battle that ensued, two hard core KPLT cadres were killed and one was arrested,” said Guwahati-based Defence Spokesperson Suneet Newton.
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