Sadiya village facing erosion threat

Avik Chakraborty

The people of Pohukhuwa village at Sadiya in Tinsukia district of upper Assam are living in fear due to constant erosion from Kundil River. Pohukhuwa village was established before India Independence with 133 houses, however it has remained with only 33 houses today due to erosion in the area. The village Amarpur under Sadiya subdivision too is facing erosion threat from river Kundil.
Sadiya sub division under Tinsukia district having a population of 1.2 lakh suffer every year due to marauding erosion. People have lost their cropland and day by day the river Kundil is approaching closer and closer and that pose a huge threat for the people of Sadiya.
The people of Pohukhuwa village were facing the erosion since several decades. Kundil River created havoc for the people of Sadiya after erosion in some villages of Sadiya sub division.
According to reports, the Brahmaputra River has destroyed nearly 4000 km since last five decades at a rate of 80 km per year and erosion also wiped out more than 2500 villages affecting nearly 500,000 people. Due to the river bank erosion and the channel migration, the Assam valley portion of the Brahmaputra River lost approximately 7.4% of its land area during its recent history of observation.
Continuous erosion by Kundil river, an important tributary of river Lohit flowing through alluvial plains of Sadiya, has been a major threat to Panchmile, Bogoribari and adjacent areas in Sadiya, including NH37 that connects Dr Bhupen Hazarika sethu.
“We are facing the threat of being wiped out because of unabated erosion. Our village was established before Independence but since 25 years back, the erosion started and took away many houses. We have urged the concerned authority but there is no permanent solution to stop the erosion,” said Ranjan Hazarika, a villager. He said the government has not given any rehabilitation to the people whose houses were washed away by erosion.
“Every year huge chunk of crop land eroded into the river and the Kundil river is coming closer. According to estimate of 30 to 40 hectares of land was eroded into the river. We want a permanent safety solution to prevent the erosion,” said another villager.
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal during his visit to the Kundil riverside in 2017 assured to undertake dredging work to prevent change its course and soil erosion, but till date nothing has changed.
Moreover, Sadiya is one of the important places in Assam which connects Arunachal Pradesh’s major town. After the inauguration of Dr Bhupen Hazarika sethu the place has become a major communication centre of Assam and in coming days the place will play a vital role in BJP’s ‘Act East policy’.
Meanwhile, to stop the erosion some anti-erosion measures were taken care of by the government but none of them permanently helped the people of Pohukhuwa village.
“Continuous erosion is posing a serious threat for the people of Sadiya. If the erosion continues and a permanent solution is not taken care of then one day Sadiya will be wiped out from Assam map,” Samar Gogoi, a resident of Chapakhowa said.

Assam Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal sought NITI Aayog’s intervention to include river erosion in the admissible list of calamities for funding under NDRF or SDRF so that quick and timely step can be taken to counter erosion.

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