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Bridging unity: Tale of a bamboo bridge

Kokrajhar: There is no point of waiting for somebody. These people have no other options but to act. Yes, we are talking to the local residents of Souraodakha area in Dotma and Kachugaon in Kokrajhar district. For the last several months the need of a bridge over the river Hel left lots of inconvenience to them. Now they are busy with the construction of a bamboo bridge.

 More than one hundred villagers from around 15 villages joined hands to build out the bridge at the initiatives of the Serfanguri Unit Committee of the All Bodo Students Union( ABSU). They have been demanding an RCC bridge for the last couple of years. But of no avail. They kept waiting. Now they have found it meaning less to keep waiting further/.  Gaonbura of Souraodakha village, Haricharan Rabha said over 12,000 people from nearly 15 villages have been facing inconvenience due to lack of communication. 'Political leaders use to come only when election comes near to the area', Rabha said.

  He said the public representatives often forget the local issues after coming to power. He also said the MLA of 29 Kokrajhar West LAC Rabiram Narzary had visited the area but they don't know what will happen after his visit. He further hoped that the government of Assam and BTC administration will look in to it.

Kandan Murmu, village headman of Gongia Janagaon said the students and pregnant women were the maximum victim of the poor road connection. He said they have been demanding a bridge in the East and Telkhona River in the West. He has urged the government to ensure the proper road and bridges before the election or the public will pay the price.

Member of Council Legislative Assembly (MCLA) of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Jyatirindra Brahma said the villagers have no option but to come out unitedly and construct the bamboo bridge of their own as the government fails to fulfill their promises. He also said they have already pressurized the government to build road and bridges but the government of Assam and BTC administration have not taken needful initiative to fulfill the desire of the people. 

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BTAD violence: CBI team grills Brahma

23 Aug 2012 - 4:21pm | editor

A CBI team grills Pradeep Kumar Brahma a d after the West Kokrajhar MLA was arrested from his residence in Dotoma in connection with the BTAD violence where 80 people lost their lives in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baska and Dhubri districts during the last couple of weeks. Police have registered altogether seven cases against the BPF MLAs. Pradeep Brahma, alias Gara, who represents Kokrajhar (West) constituency, was arrested from his house at Dotoma near Kokrajhar town at about 1 AM as seven cases had already been registered against him in several police stations. Notably, a team of police led by Kokrajhar superintendent of police picked up Brahma and took him to the Circuit House where interrogation is going on.

Post-independence era in Assam

25 Oct 2007 - 4:52am | Daya Nath Singh
Post-Independence era in the history of Assam is full of public grievances and agitations for existence and identity. Assam agitation against the foreigners' infiltration into the state was the major among many, which rocked the whole nation beyond expectations. The deep rooted policy of British Administration followed by the Muslim League ministry under the premiership of Sir Saidullah was the main cause of turmoil in Assam. The tea gardens in Assam were under the control of foreigners and the Muslim League ministry formed in1936, was following a communal and anti-people policy in the interest of tea garden owners.

In the State Assembly, Gopi Nath Bordoloi was the leader of Opposition. He became 'Lokapriya' for his sympathetic attitude towards all sections of the society. It was with his efforts that Khasi, Jayantia, Garo and Mikir Hills were included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India and attained the status of autonomous districts. But Lokapriya did not get much time to build up the state according to his dreams and passed away in the year 1950.

The Congress Party ruled over the State continuously for thirty years, but after Bordoloi, none of the leaders looked into the interest of the people, rather some of them worked against the people's desire. In the year 1977, Congress was thrown out of power for the first time. The State politics took a dramatic turn during the Assembly elections in February 1978. Newly formed Janata Dal got 53 seats out of 126 in the State Assembly. The Communist Party of India-Marxist captured 11 seats. Taking support from the various Non-Congress parties and CPI-M, JD leader Golap Borbora formed the first ever Non-Congress ministry in Assam.

In July 1978, All Assam Students Union (ASSU) raised a 16-point demand, prominent among them were detection, deletion and deportation of foreign nationals from the state. It was alleged that the Non-Congress government came into power on the basis of the votes of these foreign nationals and the Communists helped them in this matter. With consolidation of regional forces as AASU, Asom Jatiyatabadi Dal, Purbanchaliya Lok Parishad, Yuva Chhatra Parishad, Assam Yuva Samaj, Young Lawyers Forum etc; a new organisation was formed under the banner of All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP). The presence of foreign nationals in the State was the burning issue before the state. Afterwards, this very issue rocked the entire northeastern region.

In the centre stage of the issue was the electoral rolls revision of Mangaldoi Parliamentary Constituency in Darrang district, before 1979 Lok Sabha elections, where seventy thousand foreigners' presence was alleged. On the scrutiny of the complaints the Election Commission found 64 percent complaints as genuine. The people of the state were astonished at this sort of affairs. The question was, if in one constituency the number of foreigners was that much, what would be the position in other 13 parliamentary constituencies? Atmosphere of mistrust prevailed throughout the state. In the beginning the voice was raised against the presence of outsiders, subsequently the issue turned against the foreigners. There was also a controversial debate on these two words. A large number of people from other states of the country were terribly afraid when the finger was raised against them. It may be mentioned in this context that a large number of non-Assamese people in the state have major role in administration, educat on, tea garden and industry sectors. Out of fear most of them started winding up and state economy was badly affected. Many important industries collapsed and serious unemployment problem raised its head.

Seriousness of foreigners' influx in the state cannot be ruled out. At the time of country's partition in 1947 the rehabilitation of refugees had already changed the population graph. Again in 1971, when Bangladesh came into existence, the influx of Bangladeshi nationals deepened the crisis. Assamese people were scared of being turned into minority in their own state. The Assam agitation was the only way to save their identity and existence. Census Report of Assam 1981 could not be published because of the continued agitation. It was realized that after creation of Bangladesh a large number of citizens recorded their mother tongue as Bengali, though some of them had already mentioned it as Assamese in the past.

On 15 August 1985, Assam Accord was signed at New Delhi between the Government of Assam, Centre and agitation leaders in presence of erstwhile Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. With the result of this Accord a new political party, namely, Asom Gana Parishad was formed, which came to power. But it could not solve the burning problems of the state. It completed its full term, but not a single foreigner was detected. They had to lose the next election to Congress. The Congress also completed full term, but no solution to any problem was achieved. AGP and the Congress remained the main rivals since then and they ruled the state alternatively without any fruitful result. The ruling parties are accused of being involved in rampant corruption. The people of the state are in a fix on the matter whosoever comes to power does nothing to implement the Assam Accord although twenty seven years have passed.

Barpeta Blunder: Will Rahul-Gogoi pay heavy price?

17 Dec 2015 - 9:27pm | Bg Gogoi

Never did Rahul Gandhi think that his statement targetting BJP and RSS would run into a hail of anger across Assam after the Barpeta monastery controversy. But it has happened. That too four months before the assembly polls where his party pins hopes on four consecutive term with Tarun Gogoi as Chief Minister.

The simmering anger started bursting in the Vaishavite town as soon as the Congress vice president named RSS alleging to have faced hurdle to visit the monastery before an end to his two days visit to Assam. With this statement, Gandhi was trying to justify Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's accusation against RSS and BJP.  

Basistha Deba Sarma, the head of the 16 century monastery straightly denied any presence of political elements inside it. " It is a religious place only meant for religious and cultural activities. Where Rahul Gandhi and Tarun Gogoi saw any political connection? It is unfortunate," said Deba Sarma.

He further said that the ancient site of Vaishnavite culture should not be dragged in to a paralyzing political controversy.

Taking on the Congress vice president who claimed to have faced hurdle in his entry by some women, the monastery head had simple clarification. According to him, the women visit the Xatra twice. "They were waiting to see the scion of the Nahru-Gandhi family from a  close range. What wrong goes with them?," said the septuagenarian.

BJP was quick to react. Newly inducted BJP leader Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma accused Gandhi and Gogoi of misleading the people with utter falsehood. "Let Rahul Gandhi kneel down before the nation to tender apology for it," said Dr Sarma who has been targetting the chief minister and the Congress vice president since he shifted his loyalty.

But Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi sticks to his stand on the presence of RSS in the monastery. He claimed to have possessed some intelligence inputs to substantiate his allegations. But these have failed to convince the people who hate interlinking of religion with politics.

Notably, Gandhi on Saturday visited the monastery just before leaving back to New Delhi. Initially, he had no schedule to visit there on the way to take the lead of a harmony march at a 7km road near the town. But in response to the wishes of the local Vaishnavs, he halted there for 10 minutes.

Political analysts say that the entire episode will do more harm than good for the ruling party. How Gogoi will refurbish the image just 4 months before the polls?