Smart city, flood city
Just one day after Assam Urban Affairs Minister Ashok Singhal inaugurated a new storm-water pumping station at Bondajan in Guwahati
Just one day after Assam Urban Affairs Minister Ashok Singhal inaugurated a new storm-water pumping station at Bondajan in Guwahati, one smart shower for about an hour caused massive floods across the premier city of the Northeast. The fact that the newly commissioned pumping station was hardly effective can be gauged from the fact that there was flooding even in those localities where the Bondajan pumping station is supposed to draw the extra water and flush it out to the Brahmaputra. Yes, the city needs a few more pumping stations, apart from increasing the capacity of the existing pumps. What is, however, more required is a holistic approach to preparing a highly scientific flood management system for the city instead of the stop-gap arrangements, which are nothing but the display of an attitude of ad-hocism on the part of the government and the authorities concerned. What is also required to be taken into consideration is the fact that the root of the problem of floods and waterlogging in the city does not lie in the dark clouds up above in the sky. Rather, the problem lies partially in the highly erratic drainage system and the failure of the authorities to increase the capacity of the Bharalu and other rivers and streams passing through the city, in addition to the failure to remove encroachers from the waterbodies and the hills in and around Guwahati. Drastic reduction of the capacity of Silsako Beel, for instance, is the direct reason for increasing floods and waterlogging in a large area covering Rukminigaon, Rukmininagar, Dispur, Panjabari, Six-Mile, Khanapara, VIP Road, Narangi, etc. Likewise, encroachment on the Bharalu, Sola Beel, Deepar Beel, Bondajan, Kalmoni, etc., is the prime reason behind waterlogging and floods in the residential areas and roads around those waterbodies. It is unfortunate that the government has been showing a tendency to bow to the pressure of a section of unscrupulous elements, including some political groups that stand against clearing Silsako Beel of encroachers. The same unscrupulous elements are also behind encouraging encroachers to occupy the hills and forests in and around Guwahati. The government must take a bold stand. Otherwise, the woes of the taxpayers will increase.