Assam Governor stresses on the need to protect Majuli

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Guwahati, Jul 19 (UNI) The world's largest freshwater island Majuli, which has already lost almost half of its land to erosion by the mighty Brahmaputra river, has found a new crusader in the form of Assam's new Governor Shiv Charan Mathur, with the latter pitching for immediate steps to protect it.

Visiting the island in Jorhat district for the first time yesterday after assuming office earlier this month, the Governor emphasised that the erosion threat was a 'national problem'.

Interacting with the scholars of this seat of Vashnavite learning, he assured of taking up the problem with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and also pursuing Majuli's case in being enlisted as a UNESCO Heritage Site, which the island had failed to earn so far.

The Brahmaputra Board, entrusted with drawing up a master plan for saving the island and implementing it, drew flak from Mr Mathur, with the Governor stating that he would check the utilisation of funds sanctioned for erosion control in the island.

He added that money could not be a constraint for protecting Majuli, especially with its rich cultural background.

The Governor also expressed concern over the fact that several Satras (Vashnavite seats of learning) had to be relocated from Majuli due to the erosion threat.

Lending a hearing to the problems and worries of the Satradhikars, the Governor promised of returning to the island soon for a longer stay.

The island has little more than 420 sq km area left, with the Brahmaputra eroding almost half of its former land area.

UNI SG DPM/src1625

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