GUWAHATI, June 25 - Haphazard earth cutting in the hilly areas of Guwahati, which has been going on right before the eyes of the district administration and the disaster management authority, remains a huge threat to the lives of city-dwellers.
Although it is an extremely serious issue, and despite imposing a blanket ban on earth cutting during rainy season, the district administration apparently is not showing any real concern to stop the menace. As alleged by a section of people, the administrative machinery is always playing the role of a toothless tiger in the issue, purportedly because most of the people behind these activities have strong political backing.
It is needless to mention here that waterlogging and landslides are the results of such unethical activities, while it has also eaten into the greenery of the State capital to a great extent.
�Huge amounts of silt deposited in most of the drains in the city prove that despite all the efforts taken by the district administration, earth cutting in the hilly areas is still going on, and that too, in an utterly haphazard manner. So, without taking stern action against those behind this murderous assault on Nature, merely carrying out desiltation of the city�s drainage system is practically nothing but a waste of public money,� said an official of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC).
As the rainy season is on, from the past one month or so, waterlogging has been routine in many important areas of the city, such as Chandmari, Ulubari, RG Baruah Road, Ambari, Panjabari, etc.
Explaining the threat they have been facing from the ruthless earth cutting in the nearby hilly areas, Bishal Patowary, a resident of Tetelia area, said, �The earth cutting will cause massive landslide in our area very soon. We have already moved the district disaster management authority and also met the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup Metro over the issue. The DC has assured us of taking action, but officials of the disaster management authority said that earth cutting is not an issue of priority for them at this point in time.�
Patowary stated that the earth cutting that has been going on at Tetelia in the past few months is posing a huge threat to a number of families residing in the hilly area. Many landslides have already taken place in the locality and most of these incidents remain unreported.
A series of massive landslides had recently occurred in Santipur, Kailash Nagar and Fatasil areas of Guwahati, which affected many families of the localities in direct or indirect ways. As per a government assessment, Guwahati has 356 landslide-prone sites on 14 of its hills.
Pitambar Joshi, a resident of Noonmati area, alleged that massive earth cutting activities took place in the hilly areas like Jayanta Nagar, Kharghuli, Chapaidang and Sunchali in the eastern part of the city. However, these activities stopped after the district administration imposed a blanket ban on it.
�Earth cutting in the hilly areas without proper planning is the main cause of waterlogging in the eastern part of the city. Even in the past, it caused severe landslides. Imposing a blanket ban on earth cutting during rainy season is not a solution, which is why it seems the district administration is not taking the matter seriously. Many people with strong political base are involved in such activities, which is complicating the situation as well,� Joshi said.