How Majuli is teetering on the edge, one wave at a time

On September 8, two ferries—one Majuli-bound and another coming from the island—collided at Nimati Ghat, killing two people.

It was June, 2019. Assam-based freelance journalist Dilip Sharma was returning to Jorhat from Majuli, the world’s largest riverine island. He had gone there on a work assignment.

The river Brahmaputra was in full spate as in every monsoon. But braving turbulent waters hundreds of people like Sharma were perilously criss-crossing the river in jam-packed ferries, the only mode of communication that connects the island in the Brahmaputra in Assam with the outside world.

Apart from passengers, the ferries, as usual, were loaded with cars, two-wheelers and goods.

There was hardly any space for movement inside the ferry Sharma had boarded, he recalled, as it was crammed with cars and bikes. “To reach one end of the ferry from the other, the helper, a teenage boy of 14 to 15 years of age, had to clamber along the side bars of the boat, swinging like an ape from window to window. This maneuver proved fatal,” he said.

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