Image: Northeast Now

Self help is the best help – taking this maxim into reality, dwellers of 14 villages from greater Charanpara near Tangla town in Assam’s Udalguri joined voluntary service and completed construction a 350 metre long earthen embankment to protect their life and property from erosion and flooding by the Bardung river in the district.

The villagers informed that they decided to initiate such self-service after their repeated pleas to the government fell on deaf ears.

“The agro dependent villagers were facing an imminent threat from the monsoon and as the coronavirus pandemic have engulfed the nation, the villagers of Bhuyankhat, Hatibandha, Borjhar, Bongaon, Dalangkhat, Mougaon, Mazarchuba used their idle time and volunteered to built the embankment during the lockdown maintaining social distancing norms in a span of three days and 150 workers were engaged and some were even paid wages,” said a villager supervising the work, Maniddra Deb Sarania.

Sarania further said,” The embankment is nearly 350 metres long where we rented an excavator and tractor on hourly basis and used earth, bamboo and allied materials to save our village from eroding further and had to spend nearly Rs 40,000 from our pockets.”

Another villager, Dharmeswar Boro said,”We had appealed the local representatives to help us build the embankment but to no avail so we decided that if we don’t help ourselves by joining hands and building the embankment the farmers who are already in distress will have to end their lives if monsoon floods erodes their fields.”

Another villager, Satya Sarania who supervised the work said, “The villagers had nominated a 27-member committee to facilitate the smooth supervision of the work at a minimal expense. Had it been executed under any government scheme it would have had an estimate of around Rs 10 lakhs”

Another villager, Mahindra Boro said,”The leaders from political parties only visit to sell the moons during the elections and later turn a deaf ear to the grievances.”

“We have repeatedly urged the government local MLA and local Member Council of Legislative Assembly (MCLA) of BTC but no measures were taken so we came forward on our own to protect our village,” he added.

Assam chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday inspected the construction of embankment by Water Resource Department from Morihula to Agoratuli range as a protection measure for Kaziranga National Park.

He also directed the department to complete the works by May 30.

“Floods cause massive damage almost every year from June onwards and so we are trying to reduce such impact this year. We are also taking steps to ensure the safety of the wild animals in Kaziranga,” Sonowal told reporters after inspecting the embankment.

Assam chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna on Tuesday reviewed the state level flood preparedness with heads of line departments who were cautioned to remain alert and be fully prepared to deal with any impact caused by floods.

Shajid Khan

Shajid Khan is Northeast Now Correspondent in Udalguri. He can be reached at: itsshajidkhan@gmail.com