Sivasagar, Prangan Duarah: A common characteristic of fields of Assam is soil erosion. Highly productive and fertile soils of Assam are now facing serious problems like soil erosion. Since 1950, the problems like soil erosion and flood has devastated the rural economy of Assam in a greater extent. The mighty Brahmaputra is the major river of this region, which has wiped out nearly 4,000 square kilometers of the area at a rate of 80 square kilometers per year, destroying more than 2500 villages and affecting more than five million people in Assam. According to Assam’s Water Resources Department data 2010, Assam has 25 vulnerable and very severe erosion-prone sites and their survey estimated that the Assam valley portion of the Brahmaputra has lost approximately 7.4 percent of its land area due to river bank erosion and channel migration.
7.4 percent! Is there any solution to control this soil erosion? It is high time to find the solution for this problem because the erosion problem is continuously causing the destruction of habitation and fertile land of Assam. For example only in Rohmoria, Dibrugarh District, more than 1,000 families have lost their habitation since last ten years and thousands of the Mising tribe is under threat due to heavy soil erosion in Assam’s Sumoi Mari village. This problem is also threatening our heritage Majuli continuously. The world’s largest inhabited riverine island and the seat of Assam’s neo-Vaishnavite movement, Majuli, cries in sorrow as the Brahmaputra washes away its land mass. Majuli’s once land area of 1250 sq km, is now reduced to 484.34 sq km. Likewise in Majuli and Dibrugarh district, a large number of families from other districts like Jorhat District, Matmora, Lakhimpur District, and Gakhirkhaitee, Koliabor, Nagaon District have become the victims of erosion of River Brahmaputra. The worst situation of soil erosion are seen in Barpeta and Dhuburi district where no protection are seen till date and every years, 1000+ Hectors of land vanished on mighty Brahamputra.
It is found that the cause of soil erosion in Assam is more of natural effects like weak geological formation, active seismicity, high rainfall intensity etc. But the anthropogenic activities like the indiscriminate felling of trees, unscientific land use, and shifting cultivation have accelerated the process of soil erosion. The experts also pointed out that the rising of river bed due to sediment deposition makes the river extremely unstable and intense “braiding” a large water discharge. Thousands of people become victims of this cruel act of the mighty Brahmaputra. Imagine living when every single portion of your property is washed away by the river. Imagine the life of this people, whose everything is snatched away by the mighty Brahmaputra.
There is an immediate need for protection measures to protect our heritage, the world’s largest river island Majuli, to protect our Satras of Majuli- a rich cultural heritage, and to protect our land of old scripts and mask making the tradition. Don’t let it wash away our culture, our tradition, and our dignity.