In Guwahati two or three heavy rainfalls in day wreck havoc in most of the areas of the city, creating water logging and traffic snarls. Common people however, have no other option but to vent their ire against the government and the authorities concerned, and are learning to live with the streets flooded for hours and spending considerable time in the traffic congestion. Commuters have a harrowing time in the artificial flood water in the Chandmari Colony area in Guwahati. Jawans of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescue children from the submerged houses, following the disaster in the Nabin Nagar area in Guwahati.
Local people using rubber boats are seen helping in the rescue efforts. Several people get killed and injured in the devastating thunderstorm. Homes and agriculture are also the victims of the destructive process. The busy GNB Road at Chandmari is one of the most affected areas today, where traffic congestion start since early morning despite the fact that it is a holiday. The lanes and by-lanes in the surrounding areas are also waterlogged for several hours creating problem for the residents. “We started our day with the roads water-logged, which has become the most predictable situation after every rainfall.
Water entered the campuses of many of our neighbouring houses, creating chaotic situation,” said Juri choudhry a resident of the Rajgarh area. GS Road, another arterial street of the city, was water-logged during the morning for several hours. Christian Basti and Bora Service areas were the worst hit due to artificial flood. With no effective solution in sight, people of Guwahati are now afraid of even the slightest of rainfall. The indifference of government authorities towards the biggest civic problem of the city is strongly condemnable,” a local of the Bora Service area mentioned.
This monsoon season has wrecked havoc some of the by-lanes of our locality, where constant water-logging is leading to health related problems. Foul smell due to flood water and strewn garbage is also giving a horrible time to the residents of the locality,”Chandrani Das, an office Assistant and a local of Tarun Nagar mentioned. “Lack of co-ordination between various government departments and agencies is another reason behind the failure of government authorities to find a permanent solution of this problem,” she added.
Water-logging lasted till evening in Rajgarh by-lane 1, Gandhibasti, RG Baruah Road and many other parts of the city. Panbazar, Athgaon, Shantipur, Ganeshguri, Bhutnath, Lakhra were also among the worst-hit areas. The main causes of artificial flood in Guwahati, are encroachment by certain people upon wetlands and hills in the city, dumping of garbage in drains, earth-cutting in the hillocks in and around the city and blocking of natural drains by people for building houses.
The GDD Minister said drains on both sides of the main roads from Last Gate to Khanapara and from Chandmari to Noonmati were being constructed and added that the Hatigaon-Dispur drain and drains in other places were under construction. Sarma also said the Guwahati Water bodies (Preservation and Conservation) Act, 2008 was being implemented. Referring to the JNNURM, the GDD Minister said a survey of the drains in the city was being done and special schemes prepared. He said that the Centre had sanctioned Rs 90 crore for the State under the JNNURM.
Earlier, Deka had sought to know the reasons behind artificial flood in Guwahati and the schemes, including the ones under the JNNURM, being taken by the State Government to solve the problem. The recurring phenomenon of artificial flood in the capital city is getting worse with the passage of time due to the lack of a proper scientific scheme to deal with the menace. In 1950, the natural drainage system along with the wet spaces were sufficient enough for carrying the surface run off the present catchments area of Guwahati to the outfall at Bharalumukh.
As the low lying places are filled up and sewage added to run off, flood occurred. To decrease the quantity of surface run off, flowing to the natural drainage system, it is necessary to catch the run off and divert it on gravity flow. The level of Brahmaputra at Palasbari is 6 m below the level of Guwahati. The storm water coming down the hills of Meghalaya, enter Guwahati through the bridges on NH37 via Bahini and Basistha rivers near Khanapara and flowing via Bharalu river in the city exit Guwahati through the bridge on NH 37 near Jalukbari.
A modern sewage treatment plant and solid disposal system is the immediate necessity of the city but let us ensure that: (i) there shall be no house in the city without a septic tank; (ii) no septic tank should be permitted without a covered soak pit; (iii) households disposing effluent from septictanks directly to roadside drains may be fined and sealed; (iv) usage of imported porous soil for the soak pit for proper soaking maybe made statutory; (v) disposal of silage (water from bathrooms, kitchens and laundry) to roadside drains maybe immediately banned.
Owners must arrange soak pits for silage soaking within their own compounds; (vi) bulky household waste and solid waste must also be incinerated inside compounds only. Throwing of such wastes to roads, rivers, drains, should be severely punished by law; (vii) every citizen must keep his compound and the road and the roadside drain in front of his house clean: otherwise he should be fined in thousands of rupees daily; (viii) all hotels in Paltan Bazaar area and other places dispose the sullage into roadside drains.
Hotels, apartments, commercial places disposing sullage into roadside drains should be immediately sealed; (ix) roadside drains, streams, rivers in the city should carry storm water only; (x) implementation of the above civic rules will have added benefit of mosquito control with empowered existing organizational structure of the authorities. A cleaner city will draw out its surface water: We should keep removable big plastic buckets; garbage bins with polythene carry bags inside, in large numbers in all public places, commercial place, markets, roadsides etc. ike in Singapore and keep one watchman for regular removal and replacing of the carry bags and arrange for their immediate disposal. Unemployed youths can take up this business and collect fees from the shops and residents. The State Government has entrusted the water resources, PHE and PWD departments with the task of cleaning the Bharalu, Bahini and Morabharalu rivers and the drains in Guwahati in order to check artificial flood in the city. Rs 370 lakhs have been allotted for cleaning the drains and three rivers.
Courtney from Study Moose
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