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Guwahati's Water Problem

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  16 Dec 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Over the years, the population of Guwahati has increased exponentially with no visible planning of any kind about the supply of drinking water and electricity to its residents. For nearly four decades we have had no planning about two of the vital needs of people everywhere in the world, mely potable water and electricity. It is important for planners to realize that it would be terribly unfair to assess people’s need of electricity on the basis of the consumption needs of 20 years ago. More and more people have begun to take advantage of electrical equipment that reduces manual labour. As such, the assessment of the power needs will have to be on the basis of the present-day electrical equipment that are in use in most households. Quite obviously, the 540 MW of power that was being generated in the State when the Congress government of Tarun Gogoi took over in 2001 is chicken feed for the present needs of the city, not to speak of the State. In fact, 540 MW of power was ridiculously short of our needs even in 2001. A similar disinclition for planning is evident in the way the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has been looking at the potable water situation of the city. With hundreds of high-rise apartment buildings coming up, the water needs of the city have gone up 10-fold. The situation was exacerbated by apartment buildings pumping water directly from the municipal water supply lines. Fortutely, this malpractice has been checked to some extent by large-scale seizure of pumps used for such activities coupled with hefty fines. However, since water is a basic need for survival, and since no one can take away anyone’s right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, the GMC will have to look sharp to ensure that it is able to provide adequate water to its taxpayers. It has to contend with the unhappy fact of life that the water table of the city has descended so far as to render even deep tube-wells ineffective. However, with the mighty Brahmaputra flowing by, it does not really take any Herculean efforts to augment the pumping and purification capacities of the GMC’s water supply unit to cater to the needs of all residents of the city. All that is needed is the political will.

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