Villagers threaten stir as Siang erosion continues in Mebo subdivision

[ Prafulla Kaman ]

MEBO, 2 Oct: The people of Mebo subdivision in East Siang district, along with leading citizens of Namsing village, have demanded that the state and the central governments take up anti-erosion measure at the earliest to save the fertile cropland and forest resources of Mebo area from erosion by the Siang river.

Locals say that the course of the river, which has been taking a serious turn towards its left bank for years, has eroded several hundred acres of cropland at Sigar, Ngopok, Borguly, Seram, Kongkul, Namsing, Mer and Gadum villages.

The water resource department (WRD) has already implemented two anti-erosion schemes, amounting to Rs 20 crore and Rs 35 crore, in Mebo area, but it is too inadequate to control the river’s course, and the anti-erosion project has not covered several vulnerable areas.

Speaking to this correspondent, leading citizens of Namsing village, including GB Bahanta Perme, retired police inspector Uneswar Perme, Monggu Banggo ZPM Gumin Tayeng, public leader Nangkong Pangging and others

alleged that the state and the central governments are showing a “step-motherly attitude, which is making life of the rural people miserable.”

“The anti-erosion project implemented in the subdivision did not cover the Namsing portion and other vulnerable sites in Lower Mebo area, which is causing concern among the villagers. Erosion by the Siang river has gripped over 1,000 hectares of cultivated land, comprising horticulture gardens, orchards and plantation sites in the last three years, but not one government functionary is showing pity towards the affected farmers,” the leading villagers lamented.

Referring to a report of the Pasighat WRD division regarding “submission of an anti-erosion project worth Rs 223 crore for protection of Mebo area,” the leading villagers urged the chief minister and the WRD minister to “pursue central government for early sanctioning of the ambitious project.”

Aggrieved over the delay in sanctioning of the anti-erosion project, and the state government’s alleged inaction, the villagers of Lower Mebo area have threatened to launch a “rigorous movement at different levels.”

Officials in the Pasighat WRD division informed that the state government, following the Central Water Commission’s (CWC) instruction, placed the DPR of the project with the North Eastern Regional Institute of Science & Technology, Nirjuli “for preparing hydrological (mathematical) model of the project, based on its feasibility.”

“After the project is designed with a hydrological model, the technical advisory committee of the CWC will pass the project for sanction,” the officials informed.