Assam flood: Smaller rivers wreck havoc in Narayanpur-Dhalpur 

Flood in Assam: Narayanpur Dhalpur is flooded by smaller rivers 

Lakhimpur: An unpredictable river and the spate of other three in small sizes created havoc in the Narayanpur-Dhalpur area in Assam’s Lakhimpur district as an early monsoon flood affected the district in June this year. 

Dropang, which is a tiny perennial river that flows from Arunachal Pradesh to a large area in Narayanpur Development Block within Lakhimpur district, caused the worst flood damages so far this year. 

Known for its unpredictable flowing behaviour of often changing its courses, Dropnag is joined by two smaller rivers Pichala and Dihiri in its downstream areas near Maghnowa to become a formidable river during monsoon.

Along with another river Sesa, the floods caused extraordinary damage to rural infrastructures including roads, culverts, and agricultural bunds. In addition, it inundated large areas for several weeks.

The flood of these rivers damaged the Simaluguri-Natun Daa-Dhora-Panigaon-Habigaon road in multiple portions. Other rural roads damaged in flood by these four rivers are the Dhalpur-Jamuguri-Hawajan road, the RCC culvert on Simaluguri-Rongoti road, Balipukhuri-Bhorolapar road, weather bridges in Balikuchi and on Maghnowa-Jomnagar PWD road.

Jomnagar is where all four rivers meet. Villagers still don’t have an RCC bridge that allows them to cross. The four rivers are also causing severe damage to more than fifty villages within the Narayanpur Dholpur region. These include Maghnowa. Simaluguri. Simaluguri. Athanibari. Dropang. Phutabhog. Ruptoli. Bhatmoi. Phutabhog. Ruptoli. Bhatmoi. Bhatmoi. Naoghuli. Khalihamari. Sesa-Rajgarh. Sarukathani.    

Dropang river’s course changes due to rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh. Now climate change is adding more uncertainty to the river with greater amounts of siltation. 

Similarly, the river changes its course due to deforestation and unplanned construction activities in Arunachal Pradesh.

The result has been an increase in surface by sand Deposition and the bringing of debris upstream.

Large swathes sand were left on the crops, which could have adverse effects on various crops. 

Another factor contributing to the unusual course of Dropang is the illegal sand mining.

Extracting sand from the river in a rampant and unscientific manner is affecting the ecology of this river.

The river’s course can be altered by excessive sand mining, which may lead to soil erosion.

Illegally mining rivers for sand is a violation of forest protection laws.

Manual mining is allowed only if it provides employment and doesn’t affect riverbed or river ecosystem.

The Dropnag river is the scene of illegal sand-mining. This has been reported by law enforcement agencies such as the police and the forest department. In spite of orders issued in 2018 by the National Green Tribunal, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change released guidelines that will help to check and monitor illegal sand mines in the country.

Besides the residents of the western bank of Dropang are facing extreme challenges in all aspects of education, health, agriculture, commerce, etc because of the communication bottlenecks caused by the river. 

The residents on both sides of the river live an uncertain life as they have to cross its troubled water daily with no bridge over it.

Villagers have also lost many cattle while crossing the river in Puli Naharani village. 

Numerous immovable assets, such as two-wheelers, have been also lost to the River.