India is going through a process of massive urbanization. The process being an integral part of the economic growth of the country focuses on improving the living standards of the people living in the country. However, Guwahati, the gateway to the Northeast India has a long way to go before it is finally ‘urbanized.’ The lack of interest of the concerned administration on the issues faced by the citizens of the city has made it impossible for Guwahati to achieve the title of ‘Smart City.’
The stories of floods in the city are no more unfamiliar to us. Every year, the onset of monsoon gives rise to the urban flash floods. Regardless of how intense the rainfall is, the poor drainage system and sudden cutting of the trees aid the artificial flood scenes in the city. Massive immigration from various parts of the Northeast to Guwahati is yet another reason for the drastic transition in the demography of the city. The densely populated bylanes of the city are congested with no proper drainage system. These unplanned drains are clogged, which results in floods around the city.
Although, the flood is a natural disaster but the city’s citizens are solely responsible for the artificial floods faced by them. The continuous destruction of our natural habitat has resulted in the disruption of the normal life in the city. According to the report released by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), the floods of 2017 were the worst of the last four years. A number of relief camps are set up during the floods, but with flood situation degrading every year, the number of displaced has increased.
The Brahmaputra, the pride of Assam, has seen a lot of battles around it. But never had he feared of any of those battles, but he is scared of the monsoon season. The river Brahmaputra flows over the danger mark during heavy rainfalls. The role of the residents of Guwahati in making the river Brahmaputra polluted is a story we all are familiar with. The disposal of the waste in the river harms not only the river but also the citizens of the city. The lack of administration’s interest in cleaning up the river is has made the conditions even worse. The constructions near the Bharalu River are yet another matter of concern. One of the major reasons for artificial flooding near the river is the heavy inundation of dangerous substances and dumping of the waste materials in the river. This clogs the way and hence does not let the river water flow. The degradation of the rivers has helped in the depletion of nature and also, imposed a lot of threats to the health of its citizens.
In a report by the ASDMA, they have identified a number of reasons behind the flash floods in Guwahati. To list the reasons are: lack of proper drainage system, cutting of trees, unmanaged solid waste, unplanned urban growth, and the high intensity of rain occurring frequently. The flash floods have affected lakhs of people in the city. The death toll is rising with each passing year. The hazards created due to electrocution are yet another story.
The lack of essential infrastructure in the city is a major reason for the degrading living standards of people. The concerned administration has not yet taken proper measures to deal with the situation. They have been seen taking mini steps to cover up the issues only when the citizens face any problems. There are no long-term measures taken by the administration to end up the problems. The administration’s priority should be to make Guwahati – a ‘flood-free’ city; however, they are mostly seen involved in other fancy festivals. If this remains the case, we are not sure if Guwahati will ever achieve the tag of ‘Smart City’ in the coming future.