Tripura is a small province of India in the cosy lap of the Himalayas. It is a unique land of beauty with its sounding cataracts, deep valleys, running streams and rivers. There are too many rivers—moderately big and small. Indeed a traveller will have to cross a number of rivers and rivulets if he/ she wishes to travel even a few kilometres within its hilly area.
The rivers of Tripura comprise a long list. However, the most important of them are the Gomoti, the Muhuri, the Dhalai, the Sonai, the Manu, the Khowai, and the Haora. These rivers originate from the Himalayan ranges and sometimes from perennial springs, supplying the people of the State with water for both drinking and irrigation. Add transport has not yet been developed satisfactorily, the rivers are used as the means of conveyance from one part of the state to another even now. They serve as the main channels for carrying Tripura’s products of bamboos and the logs of wood.
As the rivers of Tripura play an important role in the socio-economic life, the people of Tripura observe the ‘Gang Puja’ or the worship of the river all over the State. The longest river of the State is Gomati that passes through the hilly regions of Central Tripura and finally enters Bangladesh. Unlike the water of other rivers, its water is transparent. It has been harnessed a few years back to supply electricity to the State. The river that flows slowly by Agartala, the capital of Tripura, is Haora. Though these rivers look innocent in other seasons, they assume threatening appearance when the continuous torrential rains fill them to the brim and even overflow their banks and wash away everything in their way. Indeed, the flood in Tripura is almost an annual occurrence. The people of the State have to undergo much suffering during these times.
But if these rivers can be properly harnessed, they may not only supply water for irrigation throughout the year but also generate hydroelectricity. Thus, being properly utilised, they can bring wealth and prosperity to the people of the State. Under such circumstances, we can raise a question Should we helplessly submit to the freaks of nature and let the rivers do their worst or tame them for the welfare of the people?