GUWAHATI, June 28 � The Assam Government this year sanctioned more than Rs 12 crore for cleaning the drains of Guwahati and the major drainage channels like Bharalu and Bahini rivers to deal with artificial floods, but that did not mitigate the sufferings of the people and the problem of artificial floods became more acute than ever before.
The Government claimed that the rise in water level of the river Brahmaputra aggravated the situation in Guwahati city, while, the citizens are of the view that the Government agencies failed to start implementation of the drainage cleaning process on time to complete the job before the rainy season. Voluntary organization Save Guwahati Build Guwahati (SGBG), on the other hand , alleged that lack of sincerity on the part of the Government resulted in sufferings of the people. The organization also called upon the Government not to mix politics with the development of Guwahati city.
Sources in the Guwahati Development Department (GDD) today told The Assam Tribune that more than Rs 12 crore was sanctioned this year for cleaning of the drains and main drainage channels. Sources, however, said that the money has not been released as yet and the Government would release the money only after receiving the report on implementation of the schemes from the Kamrup (metro) Deputy Commissioner, who is also the chairman of the district disaster management authority.
Sources revealed that the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) was entrusted with the responsibility of cleaning the drains, while, the Water Resources Department was given the task of cleaning and de-siltation the bed of the rivers Bharalu and Bahini, the main drainage channels of the city. Sources said that the money would be released to the concerned agencies and departments only after receiving satisfactory report on completion of the work from the Deputy Commissioner.
GDD sources said that though the concerned agencies and departments tried to play their parts for mitigating the sufferings of the people, the rise in water level of the river Brahmaputra aggravated the problem as the sluice gates had to be kept closed to prevent backflow of Brahmaputra water to Bharalu. The water level of the Bharalu is also increasing , which added to the woes of the people. However, the water level in Bahini receded today, sources added.
Against the claims of the Government, the SGBG said that the Government is not sincere in dealing with the problem and the implementation of the schemes started very late and there was no way those could be completed on time. Moreover, the Government is yet to formulate a comprehensive plan for a scientific drainage system for the city and there have been instances of engineers drawing up schemes without visiting the sites.
SGBG president Dhiren Baruah told this correspondent that the Government prepared a scheme to clean the drains and asked the Deputy Commissioner to coordinate the activities of various departments and agencies only about three months back. If the Government is really serious in dealing with the problem, such a scheme should have been taken long back during the winter season itself and the people of the city should have been taken into confidence instead of depending entirely on the bureaucrats.
Baruah said that the Government has not been taking any action against encroachers, which also aggravated the problems in the city. He said that the Ambari area of the city has been facing severe problems after a building of the CRPF was constructed under the Guwahati club overbridge , while, the railway culvert is also not big enough to ensure flow of water. He said that the wholesale fish market should be shifted immediately, while, construction of a new tourist lodge near the new field also affected the normal flow of water. He said that even Government departments like the Railways and PWD are constructing buildings without taking any permission from anyone.
The SGBG demanded that the GMC should clean the major drains at least once a week and pointed out that the GMC does not have the machineries required for cleaning the underground drains.