DIBRUGARH: Massive erosion by the Brahmaputra river washed away a major portion of an embankment in the Maijan area on the outskirts of Dibrugarh on Tuesday posing a major threat to the 180-year-old historic town.

 The swelling river eroded a major portion of the Brahmaputra dyke in the Nagaghuli-Maijan area causing panic and terror among the people of the area. According to locals, the river was flowing 150 metres away from the river embankment just two days ago. 

In wake of the emergency situation, the district administration sought the help of workers of nearby Maijan and Greenwood tea estates to repair the embankment. Almost 500 tea garden workers volunteered for the restoration work which is being taken on a war footing. With the strong river current constantly hitting the embankment in full force, locals fear that it is only a matter of time before the whole embankment is washed away. 

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“A portion of the dyke at Maijan area has been breached due to the constant erosion. If the erosion will continue for more days then it will create a threat for the Dibrugarh town,” said a resident.

Manob Munda, president of Nagakhuli Gorakhonia Samity said, “Last few days, massive erosion has been going on in the Maijan-Nagakhuli area. Eight families were rendered homeless due to the marauding erosion. Despite several pleas, the department concerned has failed to resolve the matter. To date, huge bighas of land were gobbled up by the river.”

Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan said, “Our first priority is to save the embankment. Already a major portion of the embankment has been washed away by the river. It is a very dangerous situation. If the river manages to breach the entire embankment, all nearby areas including the Assam Medical College and Hospital, and the Dibrugarh Airport will come under water. The next threat will be Dibrugarh town. The protection measures have not been successful so far.”

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“We are trying to stem the erosion by placing mega geo-fibre bags in the foot of the embankment but since the water level is 12-metre deep the bags are being washed away. The water has to dry up first,” the MLA said.

Dibrugarh DC Biswajit Pegu said, “Both men and machine have been engaged in the area to control the erosion. The erosion has been caused due to changing course of the Brahmaputra. Earlier the river current used to hit Dibrugarh’s Rohmoria area causing massive erosion. This time due to changing course of the river, the Nagaghuli and Maijan area have to face the brunt of erosion. We are doing everything possible to deal with the situation.”

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com