How flooding shifted a village in Assam’s Dhemaji

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The Kumutiya river floods yearly, destroying crops and homes. The river has shifted 3 km since 1960, and a complete village has needed to shift with it

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Kumutiya river has been quickly and incessantly altering course in Assam’s Dhemaji, shifting a complete village. Picture: Dhemaji.gov.in

As North East India grapples with devastating impacts of local weather change — change in rainfall sample being the first reason behind concern — Assam’s Dhamaji district has one other urgent fear: The shifting of Dihiri village the place Kumutiya river has been quickly and incessantly altering course.

Flooding of the Brahamputra has formed the land in most of North East India for hundreds of thousands of years. Main floods within the Brahmaputra are identified to trigger inundation for a number of days.

Jarman Doley (53) has needed to depart his home each time there’s a monsoon flood.  

“It has been like this since 2007, when the embankment upstream within the river breached for the primary time throughout a large flood,” Doley, a resident of Mas Dihiri settlement of Dihiri village in Assam’s Dhemaji district, advised Right down to Earth.

He stood in the midst of a sandy river mattress the place his home was eight years in the past. He belongs to the Mising tribal group. Dihiri village has two different settlements that’s residence to Mising folks.

Mas Dihiri will get flooded by the close by Kumutiya river which is one stream of the Jiadhal-Kumutiya river system. Kumutiya and Jiadhal are each tributaries of the Brahmaputra.

“Aside from the common flooding yearly, extra ferocious floods destroy our crop each 4 to 5 years,” Doley added. Throughout the 2020 monsoon season, the Kumutiya river destroyed rice fields. Doley misplaced two hectares of rice crop. The remainder of the village comprising 54 homes misplaced round 38 hectare of the crop.

Dihiri village was as soon as generally known as the granary of Dhemaji, however not anymore, stated Doley. The villagers needed to develop mustard and greens within the post-monsoon season to make up for the losses.

Doley additionally resorted to rising black lentils, however couldn’t do it for lengthy because the flood water stayed again for much longer. The folks of Mas Dihiri additionally rear pigs and goats. This type of livelihood can be affected by floods.

So now the villagers have learnt to stay with the moody Kumutiya river. The river modifications its course and shifts virtually yearly, some years by a number of metres, different by many extra.

Since 1960, the Kumutiya river has shifted by greater than three kilometres and your entire village has needed to shift with it. In 2009 alone, the village needed to shift by round 400 metres in the direction of the north of the river.

Historically the group has used bamboo stilts to lift their homes above the bottom to avoid wasting themselves from the flooding. Now this conventional methodology can’t be used due to the frequent shifting that they should perform.

“Boats are tough to seek out throughout floods, and we have to construct bamboo rafts,” stated 30-year-old Hunmuri Doley. 

The villagers took up the problem with the federal government authorities, particularly the state’s water sources division, however the response has been principally lacklustre. “Throughout the September 17, 2020 floods, the state catastrophe response pressure groups even denied assist to the flood-affected folks,” stated Jarman Doley.

Villagers stated in the previous couple of years, the modifications to the river’s course have grow to be extra frequent and unpredictable. Rajiv Doley, one other resident of Mas Dihiri, stated essentially the most extreme flooding occasion of September 17 was surprising.

He claimed rainfall has been growing within the upstream of the river within the final 10 years: “Our village will get flooded within the following two to a few hours. Earlier, pre- monsoon and monsoon rainfall interval would occur from April to the top of the August. But it surely now extends effectively into September. The rains have introduced in additional silt from the mountains, the deposition of which is inflicting the shifting of the river.”

Rajiv Doley needs to get into pisciculture, however is unsure in regards to the future. Additional modifications in rainfall patterns, particularly extra excessive rainfall occasions within the upstream of the river, might additional push the folks of Mas Dihiri to the brink of financial and environmental collapse.




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