Soil erosion posing a grave threat to Assam tribals

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Sumoi Mari (Assam), June 2 (ANI): Thousands of tribals of the 'Misings' tribe are under threat due to heavy soil erosion in Assam's Sumoi Mari village.

The Bramhaputra River floods the village situated in Majuli quite often, causing immense erosion of fertile and cultivatable land.

Frequent flooding has compelled the natives to live in temporary shacks made of bamboo and cane, as every year the river washes their homes away.

The village lacks the benefit of any basic amenities and the locals are surviving by primarily engaging in weaving or working as daily wagers on rice fields in the nearby areas.

The villagers have been displaced for a record seven times in the span of just three decades, with the last one being in the year 2007.

Koleshwari, a village elder appeared disappointed due to negligence and lack of support from the state government.

"After settling here, the Government has done nothing for us. We have heard about National rural employment guarantee Act (NREGA) Job Card, but we have never seen or known what Job Card is," said Koleshwari.

"The Government has miserably failed to provide us the promised Below Poverty Line (BPL) card and Rajiv Gandhi Yojana Scheme. Only few have benefited so far," he added.

Mitu Khataniar, a social worker from Majuli said the region has potential to boost its local economy through tourism, but needs government support.

"The river is causing erosion and every year we are losing a lot of lands and suffering from the erosion. We have no land; nearby people living on other rivers embankments are also suffering. There is no rehabilitation," said Khataniar.

"We want to develop the roadways, as here at Majuli there is a lot of tourism potential and the government has not taken any initiative steps to develop the tourism sector here," he added.

The Majuli Island is the largest freshwater island in Asia and has been declared a world natural heritage site for its flora and fauna. (ANI)

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