The Assam Government has recently granted district status to Majuli, a 500 square kilometres island in the Brahmaputra River. With this it becomes India’s first island district!
Decision in this regard was taken by the state cabinet meeting presided by the newly elected Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in Guwahati. Importantly, the Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal won the recently held Assembly elections from Majuli, a constituency reserved for scheduled tribes. The decision was taken in the first cabinet meeting of the new BJP-led government, which had assumed office on May 24th, 2016. With this erosion-troubled Majuli island will become the 35th district of Assam. Earlier it was sub-division of Jorhat district.
The fluvial island is formed by the Brahmaputra river system. It is the world’s largest mid river delta (island) system. But Majuli is also a fast-disappearing island. Once the largest mid-river deltaic island in the world, with an area of 1,256 sq km, it has now shrunk to less than half its size, to 515 sq km.
The Majuli Island is mostly inhabited by Mishing tribal people. It has been a home of several rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds. Today, the island is home to 22 ‘Vaishnava Satras’ or monasteries and also serves as the seat of Assamese Vashnavite culture. It is also vying for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its cultural and natural heritage.