GUWAHATI, July 26 � In a bid to solve the flash flood problem in the city, the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) chairman, Captain Robin Bardoloi, MLA, has urged the Meghalaya Chief Minister to take necessary steps by enacting laws and taking actions to stop further stripping of vegetative cover, rock quarrying, earth cutting, construction and all such activities that destabilise hill land in Meghalaya, which is adjacent to Guwahati.
Bardoloi reasoned that the sediment carried by the run-off from Meghalaya also poses a great problem in the flow of the Bahini, Basistha and Bharalu rivulets. Since the last few years, these rivulets have been carrying huge loads of sediment from the Meghalaya hills and depositing them in the foothills and downstream, particularly in the water bodies. Sediment from the Meghalaya hills has greatly affected the Silsako Beel and the Deepor Beel, which is a Ramsar Site. Siltation also raises the river bed as well as the bed of most of the important water bodies and subsequently, inundates vast swathes, particularly the adjoining areas of Guwahati city.
The Basistha-Bahini river system originates in Meghalaya. For some 10 km in Meghalaya, the Basistha-Bahini river is known as the Umtenga or Umriang. Owing to the destruction of vegetation and a spurt in human activities in the Mylliem Reserve Forest of Meghalaya, the velocity of the water flow has also increased over the years, leading to bank erosion, bank cutting and scouring at many areas. The increase in the river�s velocity has caused destruction of habitations, households, properties, communication networks and homestead gardens at Basistha and adjoining areas. The average slope of the area falls transversely from the eastern part to the western part with the exception of the inter-basin separation, leading to a restriction on the movement of the Bharalu, which passes through the city.
�As possible solutions, we must work out a sustainable soil mass balance by quantifying the sediment load coming down from the Meghalaya hills and controlling all activities generating sediment, particularly by deforestation, rock quarrying and earth cutting, accompanied by the control of the run-off and stream sediment load,� Bardoloi said in a statement.
He also suggested to the Meghalaya Chief Minister to bring all exposed areas in Meghalaya, upstream of Guwahati, under complete vegetative cover and construct proper drainage network along with silt traps, particularly during the rainy season so that run-off, sheet erosion and silt transport are checked to a great extent.
Moreover, to check further damage to the hills, the people should be asked to desist from all practices that cause the movement of silt downstream by undertaking proper land use plans in the Meghalaya hills.