Exploring the Socioeconomic Impact of Riverbank Erosion in the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam, India: A Case Study of Two Districts
Keywords:Environmental Degradation, Riverbank Erosion, Socioeconomic Problem, Displacement, Poverty
This paper explores the socioeconomic impact of riverbank erosion and measures the incidence and severity of poverty among the riverbank inhabitants of Assam, India. Primary data from two erosion effected districts of Assam have been collected using multistage random sampling technique. To measure the incidence of Poverty among the riverbank inhabitants, Head Count Ratio (HCR) method has been used. Severity of poverty is measured using Poverty Gap Index (PGI). The results reveal that the level of poverty and the severity of poverty are related with the degree of erosion. Similarly, the migration (both short-term and long-term) also related with the degree of erosion. It has also found that various types of socioeconomic issues arise due to riverbank erosion, such as loss of cropland and livestock, education and transportation problem, social displacement, etc. An important fact observed is that the problem of migration and poverty also exist in the non-eroded villages. For which, it cannot be say that migration issue arise only because of riverbank erosion. But, riverbank erosion pushes the other problems to more vulnerable situation which compels the affected people to take their decision. Therefore, riverbank erosion may be considered as a cause of migration and poverty in the study areas. In this context the paper recommends that with the erosion control measures, the policies such as resettlement, financial support and social safety nets should be implemented in the erosion affected areas to reduce poverty as well as to reduce outmigration.
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