By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 10: Will Guwahatians be grateful for small mercies? The metropolitan city has its share in the Annual Budget presented by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who also holds the Fince Portfolio, today.
The major problem afflicting Guwahati city is artificial flood, and this is what every planner has to keep in mind while doing anything good for the city. The Annual Budget too has kept it in mind, but seems to resort to small mercies for the city dwellers. In his Budget proposals, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that to mitigate floods ‘drains and diversions’ would be constructed to divert storm water to the Brahmaputra through a system of sluice gates and pumps of the requisite capacity. The existing drains, Gogoi said, would be improved and new ones would be constructed in the city, including the southern side of the NH bye-pass. This apart, the Budget has also proposed to dredge and clean the tural channels of Guwahati, and Rs 10 crore has been earmarked for the purchase of various machinery for the purpose in fiscal 2015-16.
Such promises are the ones which Guwahatians heard from the Chief Minister and every successive GDD ministers of the state as often as not, let alone in every annual Budget of the state. Dredging and cleaning of the drains are going on over the years in Guwahati but the problem of artificial floods still persists.
The Budget also proposes to develop the riverfront from Nilachal Hill to the Governor House. This proposal sounds like a sick joke as it has become a cliché among the successive GDD ministers of the state who took a number of steps to get the job done only to leave it incomplete for reasons best known to them.
The Budget also said that the feasibility study regarding rail-based MRTS project for Guwahati city is in progress, and this is just information to the people of the state and not a proposal. Gogoi also gave more such information when he said the construction of multi-storey markets at Ulubari, Rupgar and Beltola were in progress. He also said that the Adabari bus stand would be converted as a state-of-the-art and inter-state commercial hub along with bus stand in PPP mode.
The Budget has proposed to set up a state-of-the-art ‘city centre’ equipped with offices of the GMC and the Mayor, a commercial hub, a town hall, a convention centre, an open theatre, parks etc., at Rupgar.
In order to boost religious tourism, Gogoi has also promised to develop Umanda Temple, vagraha Temple and Ma Chandika Temple at Chhaygaon. A proposal welcomed by Chhaygaon MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed. He said that the people of Chhaygaon welcomed the move and said that they extend their help to the government to make that happen.
In the past 14 years, the Congress broke most of the Budget promises made for mitigating the problems of Guwahati and that left the Fince Minister who, has been holding the portfolio for the past 14 years, seems to be making almost the same promises years on and on. The promises made in this year’s Budget are not different.