Assam: More Than 85,000 People Rendered Landless Due To Soil Erosion In Past 5 Years
As many as 86,536 thousand people have been rendered landless due to soil erosion in the last five years in Assam, said Ratan Lal Kataria, the minister of state for water resources, social justice and empowerment, in the parliament.
Till date, the most affected area by soil erosion are Majuli, Barpeta, Kamrup, Dhubri, Dibrugarh districts, said the minister quoting the state’s Revenue and Disaster Management Department.
The largest number of people to have lost their land due to annual floods are from Sonitpur district. As many as 27,111 people in Sonitpur district have been displaced due to soil erosion, stated the written information provided by the Union minister, in the parliament.
The Union minister submitted the written reply in response to an unstarred question by the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief and Lok Sabha MP, Badaruddin Ajmal.
As per government records, as many as 18,425 people have become landless in Morigaon district, 10,500 people were officially recorded as displaced in Majuli island and another 9,337 have been mentioned as landless in Kamrup district.
Central Government’s Plan To Mitigate The Problem
Ratan Lal Kataria, stating that the Central government, has assisted the state government through its flood management programme (FMP) launched in the XI Plan. Since then, “A total of 141 projects costing Rs 2,383.11 crore were approved and included under FMP,” Kataria said.
“During the XI Plan, 100 projects with an estimated cost of Rs 996.14 crore were approved, while during the XII Plan, 41 projects with an estimated cost of Rs 1,386.97 crore were approved. Since the start of XI Plan, total central assistance released by the government of India to the state government of Assam under FMP till date is Rs 1,201.36 crore,” he further said.
Kataria said that even though flood management, including soil erosion, comes under the state’s list, the central government has channelised the central funds meant for anti-erosion protection schemes to the state water resources department North Eastern Council, Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), etc.
Soil Erosion And Flooding In Assam
For decades, soil erosion in Assam has been a major problem. Soil Erosion has negatively impacted the rural economy of the state.
In 2010, more than five million people living in 2500 villages in Assam were affected due to flooding caused by the Brahmaputra river.
Following the flood, the Assam valley portion of the Brahmaputra lost approximately 7.4 per cent of its land area due to river bank erosion and river channel migration, estimated Water Resources Department, Assam.
The Brahmaputra Board Act, 1980, that provides for the establishment of a Board for the planning and integrated implementation of measures for the control of floods and bank erosion in the Brahmaputra, has never been implemented in the past. The Board has remained headless without a chairman since its inception.
In 2012, the Supreme Court urged the Centre and the Assam government to respond to a plea that stated the failure of effective flood management is leading to large-scale loss of landmass to soil erosion.