GUWAHATI: Majuli’s primary link to Nimati Ghat in Jorhat – the ferry service – has been indefinitely suspended due to rising water levels of the Brahmaputra River. The Assam inland water transport (IWT) department cited incessant rains over the past week, which have led to the surging water levels, as the reason for this disruption.
Every monsoon, the ferry services, a lifeline for many between Majuli and Nimati Ghat, face suspensions due to the swelling Brahmaputra River. This annual disruption highlights the vulnerability of relying solely on ferries, especially during unpredictable weather conditions.
Recent floods in Assam have intensified these concerns. According to a report published by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) on August 16, this year’s Assam floods so far have affected over 75,000 people and claimed the lives of over 12 people. Dhemaji has the highest number of affected individuals at 46,754, with Sivasagar coming next at 22,650. These recurring calamities emphasize the necessity for a more permanent solution for connectivity.
In a promising move in November 2021, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma initiated the construction of an 8.25-km-long bridge over the Brahmaputra, set to connect Jorhat with Majuli. With a sanctioned budget of Rs 925.47 crore from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the project has been handed to the UP State Bridge Construction Corporation Limited, Lucknow, with a completion timeline of 48 months.
The urgent need for this bridge was further highlighted when a tragic accident took place near Nimati Ghat in Jorhat district in September 2021. A major boat collision in the Brahmaputra resulted in the sinking of one boat, leading to several casualties. The accident involved the private boat headed to Majuli and a government-owned ferry coming from the island.