By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 15: Guwahati is set to be one of the few smart cities in the country. Is not it urgent to rid the city of its elephantine problem of water-logging? Life in the city went haywire due to an-hour spell of downpour from around 11 am today. Life in the city simply went out of gear during and after the rains.
Today’s rainfall reminded the dwellers of the city and those at the helm of affairs at Dispur that what did over the years to rid the city of water-logging were only cosmetic remedies. In fact, over the years Dispur kept on spending crores of rupees only for such cosmetic remedies, without going for any permanent solution.
In the last government at Dispur, then Additiol Chief Secretary MGVK Bhanu did take a number of measures to rid Guwahati of water-logging. It seems now that all those funds went down the drains as the cosmetic remedies did burn holes in the State exchequer without finding any permanent solution to the problem. Bhanu did use dredgers to deepen the Bharalu and other cals that carry water from the city to the Brahmaputra. He also used quite a number of pumps to pump out water from heavily water-logged areas in the city like Anil gar, bin gar etc. The measures did give a respite to the residents, but for a very short while. Such remedies, however, cannot rid the people of the city of this problem.
In the past, the problem of water-logging was raised many a time in the State Assembly. The last State Government, to be specific, its GDD, even identified the reasons behind water-logging in the State and spelt them out on the floor of the Assembly. According to the previous government in the State, the reasons behind water-logging in Guwahati were excessive rains; drains on either side of the roads being choked with soil from hills, plastic materials and other garbage; the main cals in the city like Bharalu, Morabharalu, Bahini etc., losing their water carrying capacity because of encroachment and being shallow; encroachment of water bodies in the city, etc. As remedies the government took to dredging, use pumps, eviction drives etc.
The areas in Guwahati that faced the wrath of the Rain God today are Anil gar, bin gar, Lachit gar, Tarun gar, Pub-Sarania, Hatigaon, Sijubari, Ambari, Jyotigar, Hengrabari, Ganeshguri, Dispur, Dispur Last Gate, Bhaskar gar, Fancy Bazar, Lakhtokia, Maligaon, Santipur, Kalipur, GS Road, RG Baruah Road, Rajgarh Road, Chandmari, Dwarka gar, Mathura gar, Panjabari, stretches of NH-37, Bhetapara, Sorusajai, etc.
City buses plying in the city had to be short-termited at various points today because of water-logging. People who were supposed to go to various destitions were stranded here and there under the eaves of various roadside shops and buildings. They were even uble to go to safer places as the roads were mostly under water. Most of the buses that came from Punjabari, Bashishta and Beltola, Lalganesh and Kahilapara etc., areas had to be short-termited at Ganeshguri as the RG Baruah Road was not in a state for plying of vehicles due to water-logging. Water-logging in the Chandmari area in the city was very severe, plaguing vehicular traffic in the city from Adabari and rangi. Various lanes and by-lanes in the city were also under water, making the city a hellhole.
In the Hengrabari area, this reporter is an witness to water making it to the main road leading to the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bhavan from the drain clogged with garbage and mud.
Despite the spending of crores of rupees in the me of solving the water-logging problem in the city, there has been no tangible solution in sight. This makes the situation for the new GDD Minister in the State very critical. Will he rise to the occasion?