"Sumoi Mari Gaon," nature's gift to Assam

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Guwahati, June 17 (ANI): The Sumoi Mari Gaon village on Majuli Island in Assam, lies in the middle of the River Brahmaputra and is blessed with rich bio-diversity and a unique eco-system.

One of nature's amazing facets, the exotic Majuli Island is the largest among 30 other small islands in the area.

After taking a ferry-ride through a seven kilometer stretch from Kamalabari town, the main town in Majuli, one can reach Sumoi Mari Goan, which is populated primarily by the Missing Tribe.

The village has 195 households with 1258 people.

The Brahmaputra River supports a luxurious growth of water plants and fishing is the main occupation of the people.

Farming and weaving are other sources of income for villagers.

A state government scheme under the Handicraft Vikas Yojana (HVY) is providing training to 600 local weavers.

People here mainly depend on fishing, weaving and farming

"After school, we mostly spend our time in weaving, since it is our main source of livelihood. At night, I study under a lamp. My mother works as a daily wage laborer during cultivation period and my father mostly does fishing," said Anjumoni Payeng, villager, Sumoi Mari Gaon

Water is a convenient medium of transport to the village as the existing road is in bad shape.

The river, which provides sustenance, causes severe obstacles during the monsoon season,as water levels rise and embankments get eroded.

Representatives of IMPACT, an NGO actively working towards preventing regular soil erosion in the village, say they want to develop better ways and means of communication.

"We are taking some good steps to save the erosion," claimed Mitu Khataniar, a Social worker with IMPACT.

"There is rapid erosion and flooding by the river every year. All our land and homes are affected by the natural calamity. Now, we are taking shelter in the embankment in a Kaccha house. We don't want to construct Pakka house because it is risky," said Debo Kumar Kotum, villager of Sumoi Mari Gaon

Lack of proper educational institutions and healthcare facilities are some of the other problems facing the villagers.

The village still struggles to have a health centre and a high school of its own.

"There is no health centre, high school or road in my village. My children have to walk seven kilometers daily to attend classes.

In any emergency, we have to carry the patient to Kamalabari town for medical attention," said Koleshori of Sumoi Mari Gaon

The river, which winds it through scenic surroundings, also makes Majuli a potential tourist destination.

Recently during a visit, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh declared that Majuli island would soon come under the eco-sensitive zone in an effort to safeguard it.

Efforts are also on to preserve the rich culture and heritage of the island. By Vaschipem Kamodang (ANI)

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