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Assam: Farmers protest over breakage of water supply from Bhutan

The farmers of the adjoining areas of Tamulpur, Baksa district, Assam near Bhutan border of Kalipur, Bogajuli, Kalandi areas have left their fields to protests on roads. The rainy season is a time when the farmers are usually busy with farming but now they are resorting to protesting on roads.

The question is why would the farmers in Assam opt that instead of ploughing their lands? The lack of water has forced the farmers to leave their lands and as such, they have reached roads to protest.

The farmers of the areas in vicinity to Bhutan Samdrop Jhankar in Assam, India are dependent on the Kalandi river as they operate on a rainfed irrigation model. Over 1953 fields operate in similar with 26 villages who resort to similar farming practises. It is estimated that about 5,000 farmers are dependent on the river. How?

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The locals divert the water from Kalindi by creating passages through mud and stones and direct the water through drains which they later use to carry their farming activities. Since this is a delicate way to direct water, it requires continuous maintenance. As such, the locals themselves maintained the setting. Speaking to Inside Northeast, a farmer who was protested on the road discussed how the problem started. “We do regular maintenance so that the water flow is maintained. Due to the lockdown, we have not been able to go to Bhutan as International Borders are closed. After the heavy rains, the drains passage has been disrupted and now we have no supply of water”. Bhutan initially repaired the passage once but following the recent heavy rains have stopped doing it. As a result, the local farmers from the Assam side have no water to plough.

The farming community has requested the political leaders to intervene the situation. “It doesn’t matter which party comes but they need to help us now and then only they can expect our votes. Otherwise what will we do. How can we farm?”

How the farmers of Baksa, Assam will cope up with the situation, can only be understood in the course of time ahead.

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