Surging Siang river posing threat to Pasighat town

[ Prafulla Kaman ]

PASIGHAT, 26 Aug: The Siang river and other perennial streams are in spate due to torrential rain in the region for the last two weeks, leading to serious erosion at Jarku, near the Pasighat airfield, in East Siang district.

The surging river water is also posing a threat of massive erosion in lower Mebo area, including Borguli, Seram, Kongkul, Namsing, Gadum and Mer villages, on the left bank of the river.

As per the water resource department (WRD) report, the Siang river has already washed away a boulder spar (No 8) “and a guide bund with 50 metre length” at Jarku, near the Pasighat airport.

It is observed that the course of the Siang river turning towards the right bank downstream of Komolighat is scouring and eroding the right bank at Jarku, thereby posing a serious threat to Pasighat town, including the Pasighat airport and Jarkong, Banskata and Berung areas.

The Pasighat WRD division has engaged men and machineries to control the river erosion at Jarku, but is yet to succeed. It is using RCC blocks, which are dropped into the riverbank “to retard water flow” and also erecting boulder blocks to cover up the eroded portions.

The locals say that the Siang river has gripped a large portion of its right bank at Jarku within a week, thereby coming nearer to the PWD road.

Besides the department’s labourers, the residents of Jarku, led by senior citizen Obang Taruk and Municipal Councillor Okeng Tayeng, are working round the clock to control the erosion.

The locals have alleged that the 20-year-old guide bund and boulder spars were not maintained by the WRD or other department concerned.

“If not controlled in time, the Siang river may grip a major portion of Pasighat township, besides submerging a vast area in the downstream within short days,” said public leader from Jarku, Shoney Pertin.

Meanwhile, the East Siang district administration has alerted the people living in riverbank areas in Jarku, Paglek SS Mission, Jarkong, Banskata and Berung to be watchful and shift to safer locations. They have also been advised to refrain from venturing into the river.

As per the WRD report on Thursday evening, the Siang river is flowing above the danger level (153.96 m) at Komolighat (Pasighat) and is still on a rising trend.

The water level of the Siang at Komolighat measured at 153.92 m at 9 am on Thursday, crossed the danger mark at 12 noon, and was flowing at 154.45 m till evening (5 pm), informed Pasighat WRD EE Gonong Pertin.

The Siang was flowing at 431.24 till 3 pm in Tuting in Upper Siang district in the upstream, department officials informed.