Dyke collapse threat haunts Hailakandi residents
Water resources department's officials inspect the embankment in Kunkunbasti in Hailakandi district on Saturday.

Silchar: At a time when southern Assam’s Barak Valley, including Hailakandi district, is facing one of the most devastating floods in its history, alleged dilapidation of an embankment of Katakhal river in Hailakandi district, whose restoration work was done less than a year ago at an expenditure of around Rs 2 crore, is giving “fresh nightmares” to the local residents.

According to local people of Hailakandi district’s Kunkunbasti, an embankment of the Katakhal river in the village was repaired less than a year ago, but it has started breaking at multiple places.

The dyke’s restoration was done without adhering to guidelines because of which it is in a dilapidated state now, they alleged.

Kunkunbasti falls under Lalamukh GP, about 20 km from Hailakandi.

The people alleged that the amount which was allocated for the restoration work of the dyke was not utilised fully and a large portion of the money was misappropriated and embezzled. A section of officials of the water resources department and other workers were involved in the corrupt activities, the local people claimed.

“The entire Barak Valley, including Hailakandi district, has been suffering because of floods. If the embankment in Kunkunbasti collapses now, the flood situation will go completely out of control,” a local resident said.

Another resident said the dyke, if not repaired soon, will cause a massive havoc. The authorities concerned should treat the matter with utmost importance and initiate appropriate steps for the dyke’s repair, he said.

Further, the local residents stressed that the embankment be repaired properly as per guidelines and sought the district administration’s intervention. They also demanded that a probe be conducted and those found responsible for the embankment’s deterioration be punished sternly.

Sources said a team of officials of the water resources department, Hailakandi (Lala sub-division), inspected the dyke on Saturday following complaints from various quarters that the embankment has started breaking. Post inspection, the team spoke to the local residents and assured them that the dyke would be repaired.

A junior engineer at the water resources department, Hailakandi (Lala sub-division) Sanjoy Goala told reporters that the embankment did not “collapse or broke” till now (as alleged by local residents), but a portion of it has been damaged due to heavy rainfall, he said. He rubbished the allegation of involvement of the water resources department’s officials in any corrupt activities.

Assam is experiencing one of its deadliest floods. Lakhs of people have been affected and at least 122 persons have died across the state so far. Silchar, the biggest urban sprawl in the state after Guwahati, has been reeling underwater after a gang of miscreants, as per the district administration, cut the Barak river’s embankment in the Bethukandi area.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who visited Silchar on June 23 to review the flood situation, said the flood in Silchar was a “man-made flood” and strict action would be taken against those found involved in damaging the Bethukandi dyke.

Many areas in Silchar town including Public School Road, Kanakpur, Tarapur, Sonai Road and National Highway among others were underwater as per information available on Sunday morning.

Also read: Nothing left to return to: This village in Bajali district can’t dare count losses

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