Amid Assam Floods, How This Village Is Fighting To Save Its Eroding Embankment

With the floods this season leaving more than 50 dead and affecting 17 lakh, some say the Kathoni village is at great risk.

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Morigaon in Assam has been identified by the government as among the four worst vulnerable to erosion.


Morigaon, Assam:  58-year-old Hari Chandra Nath, headman of Kathoni village in Assam's Morigaon is worried these days. During the past week, he has been busy trying to save his village from being ravaged by the floods in the state. The safety of his village, 130 km away from state capital Guwahati, rests on an embankment. If it is breached, not just his but at least 100 villages in the periphery would be washed away with the relentless rain.

Morigaon, one of the worst hit districts, has been identified by the government as among the four worst vulnerable to erosion in Assam.

"This erosion has been going on for 10 years now. Despite repeated requests to government for protection, no help has been provided. We even requested the Chief Minister to immediately dredge (increasing its depth to subvert erosion) the river," said Mr Nath.

With the floods this season leaving more than 50 dead and affecting 17 lakh, some say the Kathoni village is at great risk.

The last embankment, built in 2015 for Rs 15 crore, was washed away in floods last year. This year, the district administration asked for Rs 20 crore for a stronger structure but only a fraction of that amount has been sanctioned and work began just before the arrival of monsoon.

"The government sanctioned Rs 9 crore for the embankment. We have proposed to construct spurs but due to high costs involved, that has been curtailed," Morigaon's Deputy Commissioner Hemen Das told NDTV.

Earlier this week, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had paid a surprise visit here but officials admit there can be no quick fix solution to the embankment issue.

Runtumoni Saikia, an engineer of Assam water resources department said: "Right now we are tackling it temporarily. The drifting of the river is a major challenge but there is no permanent solution to it."

At a time when the Brahmaputra River has been shifting its course, the speed of work remains critical. In the last year itself, the Brahmaputra has drifted 4 km in this region.


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