Residents in Majuli, India are in panic as their ‘land’ is slowly shrinking.
The 160,000 residents who are currently living on the world’s biggest river island in Majuli, Assam in India are experiencing more and more struggles despite their attempt to stay afloat and develop the area a tourist attraction. Although the shore is protected and covered by sandbags and concrete barriers, there seem to be no use when the annual monsoon hits the area. Experts also estimated that the river island will be completely submerged by 2030. The river island already lost more than half of their land over the past century from the heavy flooding of the Brahmaputra.
The lifestyle of the people of Majuli is a survival type of living; they live of fish that are caught, building shelters and boats and growing crops that are able to grow on silty soil. Other than that, until a new road or bridge is built and finished to link Majuli to Jorhat and Lakimpur, they tend to use the ferries to get to the closest market to get typical goods such as fabric, rice, other meat etc. The project had already begun in early February of last year with officials laying the foundation stone, but it has been reported that the project is on hold due to one of the company that was awarded the contract have been accused of forgery.
Sarbananda Sonowal, the chief minister of Assam has promised that the project will be back on track as well as developments to the island, stating: “There is tremendous curiosity of the people around the world about Majuli who want to visit the place,” continuing “All superstitious beliefs must be removed from the society with scientific temperament and people of both Barak and Brahmaputra valleys must remain united in the spirit of harmonious coexistence for faster development of the state.”
The Indian government have also apply for the island to be listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, but yet have seen any further action from Unesco even though it has already been recorded to be the world’s largest river island covering 880sq km of land , according to Guinness World Records.