Erosion has caused a major damage in Assam in the last several decades. Since 1951, Assam has lost at least 8,000 square kilometres of land which is around 60 lakh bighas.
Quoting a retired top bureaucrat of the state, The Assam Tribune recently reported that it is estimated that around 10 lakh families have become landless over the years.
Former additional chief secretary CK Das, who served in the revenue department for long periods in different capacities during his career as an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, expressed the view that erosion is a much bigger threat to Assam than floods.
“After floods, the affected people can recover from the losses that they suffer and they can go for alternative cultivation after flood water recedes. But in case of erosion, those who lose their land have nothing to sustain and most farmers do not have their skills to sustain themselves,” Das was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
He further said that the bed of the rivers became shallow after the great earthquakes in 1897 and 1950, which reduced the water carrying capacity and the problem of erosion aggravated.
He pointed out that if one examines the maps of the Survey of India since 1872, it is easily visible that the width of the river Brahmaputra is increasing in different parts through its course through Assam.
Das also said that the state government should put pressure on the Centre to declare erosion as a natural calamity so that adequate compensation can be paid to the people who lose their land in erosion.