GUWAHATI, May 21 � Engineering experts and concerned citizens here are of the view that the city has been facing severe water-logging problem during the rainy season because of the failure of the authorities concerned to implement the Drainage Master Plan for Guwahati, which was prepared in 1970 for a period of 40 years from 1971 to 2001.
The Master Plan, which is popularly known as the 1971 Master Plan, was prepared under the guidance of the Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Organisation (CMPO) and it was approved by the State Government and the State Assembly in 1971. The Master Plan was prepared on the basis of the physical survey of the city topography with meticulous calculations to make the recommendations.
Concerned citizens and experts told this newspaper that they have been observing for the past over four decades the implementation of the faulty, half-hearted schemes by the authorities turning a blind eye to the recommendations made in the 1971 Mater Plan. This has resulted in waste of hefty sums of public money. Even the articles written by the experts on the issue and published in the local newspapers have also failed to draw the attention of the authorities concerned.
There are, however, scopes to set things right even now. The only step the authorities or the State Government need to do at this juncture is to update the 1971 Master Plan suitably and this is not an onerous task, said the experts and the concerned citizens.
For the purpose of stormwater drainage, the experts engaged in preparing the 1971 Master Plan had furnished comprehensive details and data, including a topographical survey map of Greater Guwahati, Deepor Beel, stormwater runoff calculations, permanent benchmarks with supporting records for the purpose of establishing the correct bed levels and slopes of the stormwater drainage system that was to be constructed in phases in the future, among others.
Today, the need of the hour is to update the 1971 Master Plan by revising the stormwater runoff calculation to cope with the present situation, as the changed picture of the runoff under the impact of urbanisation needs to be properly traced. Density of buildings, roads and other impermeable surfaces increase the quantity of stormwater runoff in the city areas. The stormwater runoff in 1971 had certainly been much less than what it is today.
Therefore, in planning drainage systems in the city, planners have to take into account the increased runoff caused by increased urbanisation, said the experts and concerned citizens.
The drainage network should be so designed and constructed that it could cope with the runoff at any given time with margins for increased runoff over the years due to increased urbanisation. For the purpose, established scientific and rational mathematical models of hydrology and hydraulics, taking into account the recommendations and the database provided by the 1971 Master Plan, should be taken recourse to.
There should also be steps to acquire land along the Bharalu river for re-sectioning it to enhance its holding capacity. Besides, there should be steps also to acquire land for accommodating reservoirs for stormwater drainage in the future with strict administrative measures for keeping such areas free from encroachment.
Moreover, proper pumping stations should be designed and constructed at Bharalumukh with a standby diesel generator set to provide power to the pumps when the electricity grid remains off. The duty ratings of the pumps should also be determined to ensure that the system performs properly, said the experts.