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Guwahati landslides: Lack of plan and delayed action create problems

Landslides wreaked havoc during the incessant rains in Guwahati in the past few days.

Guwahati landslides

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 May 2022 2:41 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: Landslides wreaked havoc during the incessant rains in Guwahati in the past few days. In 2015, the authorities mapped the landslide-prone areas in the city and washed their hands just by issuing notices to the residents.

The AEC (Assam Engineering College) surveyed the 19 hillocks in and around the city and identified 366 areas as landslide-prone in 2015. It also suggested a few steps for the government to keep the problems at bay. However, the government did precious little toward that end.

The number of landslide-prone areas might have increased in the city in the past seven years after the survey. It is bound to happen as encroachment continues unabated on the hillocks. Rampant earth-cutting on the hillocks has deteriorated the water-logging problem.

The city is under the care of several authorities like the GMC (Guwahati Municipal Corporation), GMDA (Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority), GDD (Guwahati Development Department) and the Kamrup (M) District Administration, besides the Forest and Water Resources departments. How come people can encroach upon lands on the hillocks and erect houses under the very nose of all these agencies? Which agency decides that constructions are legal and which are not? Do the authorities have records of illegal structures on the hillocks? Do they have any mechanism to prevent the initiation of such unauthorized constructions? If they have, what prevents them from taking action against the unauthorized constructions? Issuing notices to a few people during the monsoon and warning them can never solve the problem of landslides and artificial floods. The recent eviction drive in the Silsaku Beel has raised a genuine question: why did not the authorities evict the encroachers before erecting concrete houses? The delayed action led to a hue and cry.

Another inherent problem is that encroachers continue to get the patronage of a section of politicians, organizations and land mafia. The encroachers are an organized and emboldened lot. The rear side of the GMCH had a vast area demarcated for tourism purposes during the reign of Hiteswar Saikia. Encroachers engulfed the entire area under the very nose of the successive governments.

If the government does not come forward with a clear-cut action plan with political will, problems like landslides, water-logging, encroachment etc., will only multiply.

Also Read: Assam Landslides Cause Hundreds Of People Stranded At Guwahati-Silchar Road

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