GUWAHATI, June 30 � The district administration today launched a massive eviction drive in various areas of the city to clear rampant encroachments from the natural water exit channels, which are a major cause of waterlogging in the city.
Teams of GMC workers, police and the district administration started operations early morning on the banks of the Bharalu river along GS Road and also at Silsako Beel, another significant water exit channel that has been witnessing extensive encroachment. Sources in the district administration said that similar drives would be carried out in the vulnerable landslide-prone zones. Altogether 365 such zones have been identified in the city during a rapid visual survey.
With the waterlogging problem aggravating in the city with every passing year, an urgent need for clearing the water channels was being felt for long. After the worst deluge witnessed by the city for four days since June 26, the State machinery was pressed into action.
A three-kilometre area along both sides of the Silsako Beel was cleared today, in which 30 houses were evicted, that included several concrete structures. Twelve boulder walls around the plots of land were also demolished and the earth filling was dug deep to ensure a smooth flow of water.
The Bharalu eviction drive was carried out along the GS Road that started from Bhangagarh and continued up to three kilometres downstream. More than 40 houses were demolished during the drive.
�An extensive plan is being formulated to keep these areas free from encroachment, for which a permanent force would also be raised. However, we are in touch with the local citizens� committees in the areas covered by the eviction drive to thwart any attempt at re-encroachment. This time, we also got the support of the local people in those areas as they now understand the adverse impact of encroachment,� Additional Deputy Commissioner Bharat Bhushan Deb Choudhury, supervising the eviction drive, told The Assam Tribune.
He further said that the drive would continue in the coming days as well, and in the first phase, encroachments from the Bharalu, Mora Bharalu and Bahini rivers and other major water bodies would be cleared to reinstate the natural water channels of the city.
The affected people however cried foul alleging that the State government completely overlooked the encroachments done by the big businessmen and powerful people, and evicted poor citizens without arranging an alternative shelter for them.
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) demanded a scientifically planned comprehensive drainage system for the city. The organization also staged a protest demonstration today demanding a solution to the perennial waterlogging problem in the city.