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Don’t curse the rain

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Once upon a time, someone had invented this slogan – Don’t curse the rain, it is the only thing coming down. But then, when one is a resident of Guwahati, the second oldest continuously inhabited city in India, one cannot help but curse the rain. The fault, however, does not in any way lie with rain, or for that matter Varun-devata, the Indian rain-god. All those who had Geography in high school remember that famous diagram which shows the cycle of rain – the one that had a river, some clouds, some upwardly moving arrows depicting evaporation, some dashes in a 45-degree downward direction. What that high school Geography book, however, did not talk about was this huge bunch of irresponsible people who live in a city called Guwahati. While some of them are government servants working with departments like Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), the large majority of them inhabit in this beautiful City of Eastern Lights. While there is not an iota of doubt that the tax-payers of this city accuse the first bunch of people are out and out inefficient and irresponsible, it is also true that the large majority of tax-payers themselves are equally – if not more – irresponsible and do not qualify to be called citizens and do not deserve to live in a city. The first bunch, as has been generally seen, have always failed to collect garbage in a scientific and efficient manner on a daily basis, apart from failing to keep the drains and natural streams and rivers of the city clean. The second and larger bunch – the so-called taxpayers – is also equally irresponsible in that those who throw garbage on roadsides, on drains and natural streams and water bodies are members of this bunch. There are two more categories of people who need to be included while identifying culprits for contributing immensely towards rapidly making this city of Guwahati dirty, unhygienic and unliveable. One, those who are employed in the state forest department – who have utterly failed to protect the hills, water bodies, natural streams and rivulets and reserved forests of the city from the land-hungry encroachers. Two, the land-hungry encroachers themselves – who have encroached upon every bit of government land, water bodies, natural streams, reserved forests and hills, thus destroying the ecology and environment of the city. This analysis, however, will remain incomplete if the law-abiding tax-payers do not also hold the politicians responsible for what happens to Guwahati city within less than an hour of a heavy downpour; it is almost clear that politicians and political parties and self-styled rights activists not only encourage people to encroach upon hills, reserved forests, natural water bodies and other government land, but also protect them every time there is an attempt to evict these law-breakers.