GUWAHATI, Sept 8 - People of the city�s Fatasil area have resented the failure of the authorities to initiate steps to free an old tank of the locality from the clutches of �vested interest circles�, that are engaged in a bid to eliminate the tank, going against the legal provisions.
The residents of Fatasil Gauri Sarma Colony and its adjoining areas have been holding public meetings to protest the filling up of a portion of the old tank popularly known as the Gauri Sarma Pukhuri, named after renowned entrepreneur and freedom fighter late Gauri Sarma. The locality around the residential compound of Gauri Sarma was also named Gauri Sarma Colony.
The Gauri Sarma Colony, measuring around 60 bighas 7 lechas belonging to Auniati Sattra, has over 280 families as its residents for the past about half a century. These people have various lease deeds executed by the Auniati Sattra in their favour and major part of the land of this area is under Debottor land category.
The tank has become an integral part of the day-to-day life of the residents of the GS Colony and it was also a part of the social activities like swimming, angling, religious rituals of the people of the entire Fatasil, Ambari, Kumarpara, Bishnupur, Athgaon, Santipur, Chabipul and other areas. It was a source of water for many households of the GS Colony area. By dint of its location, it also became a natural stormwater reservoir of the greater Fatasil area, which kept the area free from flash flood. Besides, it became a major point of groundwater recharge as well as a major destination for both indigenous and migratory birds.
Around 1978, the tank was leased out to Sushila Bala Devi, wife of late GP Sarma and her two sons Dilip Sarma and Pradip Sarma for the purpose of piscicultural activities. But after about five years, the tank was reverted to the Auniati Sattra. During this entire period, the people of greater Fatasil area and its neighbourhood as mentioned above, were using the tank for different purposes without any objection from anybody.
The administrative authorities acquired the tank comprising around 6.5 bighas of land covered by Dag 175 of KP Patta No 5 through a notification dated May 31, 1995, declaring that all rights in land of the Religious Institution of Public Nature as mentioned in the notification shall stand transferred to and rest in the State government free from all encumbrances with effect from the date of issue of the notification.
But, three bighas of the tank land have already been sold off by the Auniati Sattra to a private party and this has upset the entire hydrological and ecological system of greater Fatasil area, complained the people of the area. This goes against the provisions of the Guwahati Water Bodies (Preservation & Conservation) Act, 2008, which was passed for preservation and conservation of water bodies within Guwahati city and its adjoining areas.
The people of this area now demand that the entire tank land be taken back by the government and the tank restored in its original condition for the greater interest of the people of greater Fatasil area and its neighbourhood. They assert that under the situation of the growing impact of the climate change phenomenon, restoration of such a sizeable tank is of great significance. They say that they do not have any objection if the Auniati Sattra is also authorised to develop the water body as a tank and a spot for water sports.