The riverine areas (island) of the river Brahmaputra, locally known as “Char/ Chapori” cover about 3.60 lakhs hectares of land and population of approx. 24.90 lakhs (as per Socio Economic Survey 2002-03). The chars follow a peculiar pattern of migration. They are subjected to erosion on their upstream and deposition on the downstream, due to which they migrate downstream. This affects the geometry and location of the chars during floods almost every year. These remote areas have not seen the fruits of development in any significant manner, because of limited accessibility and consequent administrative and other constraints. While certain districts of the state have been declared as “Backward” for the purpose of providing special incentives to attract industries, but in these districts, there was no systematic plan to remove backwardness to bring them at par with the rest of state. The physical, sociological and institutional constraints on development of Char Areas are many and complex. Such as virtual absence of all weather communication with the main banks, reliable means of intra and inter char mobility, inadequate growth of transport and basic infrastructure like surface roads, health and drinking water, delivery systems for farm inputs, marketing, agro-services electricity and education.
80% of the Char population lives below poverty line. The basic objective of the Char development programme is to augment development by adopting some special schemes to be implemented directly by the Char Areas Development, Assam during the Twelve Plan. This would be achieved by a set of inter related scheme of raising procreativity of crops, self employment and incentive for Cottage Industries and Education for Char Areas with focus on those below the poverty line for generation of additional employment opportunities and economic improvement.
The problems in the Char Areas are unique in nature, due to constant threat from flood and erosion during the rainy season. No mega developmental schemes can be taken in these areas. The land mass is segregated and cut off from each other, making it very difficult for taking any major scheme for road communication, irrigation, Power supply or setting of educational institutions.