Erosion-affected families in Assam wait for a rehabilitation scheme to take-off as the state government reworks the policy.
Sixty-year-old Ente Basumatary, a resident of Dungar Guri village in the Morigaon district of Assam, in northeast India, expresses both surprise and frustration when asked if he is aware of the Assam government’s ‘Chief Minister’s Special Scheme for Rehabilitation of Erosion Affected Families in Assam’, which was framed in 2015 for erosion-affected families like him. Once a prosperous farmer having 20 bighas (3.21 hectares) of land, he has lost all his land to the Brahmaputra river, one of the largest river basins in the world. Basumatary has been forced to live in makeshift camps in Kathani village with his wife and two daughters, for the last six years.
Floods and bank erosion by rivers are the two major problems faced by the state, according to Assam’s water resources department which describes the widening of the river Brahmaputra due to erosion as “alarming”.
The Brahmaputra and its tributaries have eroded away more than 427,000 (4.27 lakh) hectares of land since 1950, which is 7.40 percent of the area of the state. As assessed, the annual average loss of land is nearly 8,000 ha.