GUWAHATI, July 1 � In a self-revealing development vis-�-vis the conservation of the city water bodies, the State Government has allegedly dumped the issue of adopting the Rule for The Guwahati Water Bodies (Preservation, Conservation and Protection) Act, 2008. This has been posing a serious hurdle in matters of conservation of the water bodies, which have a major role in containing the stormwater-induced flash flood in the city.
Again, the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), which is designed as a body responsible for planning and development of the Guwahati metropolitan region, is yet to have a project to tackle the rain-induced flash flood in the city. Same is the case with the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC).�
According to information available with this newspaper, the State Government has been keeping mum on the issue of adopting the Rule of the above legislation despite the draft of the Rule being supplied to it by the authorities concerned over a year back.
It needs mention that under The Guwahati Water Bodies (Preservation, Conservation and Protection) Act, 2008, four wetlands � Deepor Beel, Saru Sola Beel, Bar Sola Beel and Silsako Beel � were notified as protected ones in 2008. In 2010, this legislation was amended to add sections five and six to it for notifying the Bondajan water body as a protected one.
However, there are several other water bodies in the GMDA area, which are yet to be notified under this legislation and this is frustrating the very spirit, with which the legislation was adopted.
The Government is also evasive on the issue of creating an Assam Water Bodies Development Authority. According to sources, two meetings were convened for the purpose of constitution of the authority, but due to the lackadaisical attitude of the people who matter at certain levels, the meetings failed to make any headway.
On the other hand, the boundary demarcation of the Deepor Beel, one of the major stormwater reservoirs in the city and which is the lone Ramsar Site wetland in the State, could not be done because of lack of active support from the revenue authorities. Only its core area, that is, 4.1 square km, could be demarcated by the Forest Department in May, 2014.
Similarly, a wall along a stretch of only 800 metres of the Silsako Beel boundary could so far be erected. Sources said that another stretch of around 2,400 metres could be covered with boundary wall if the boundary of the wetland is demarcated by the authorities.
The Kamrup (Metro) district authorities are yet to shift the wholesale fish market from the Bar Sola Beel, even as walls could be erected along the boundaries of the wetland on three sides.
Besides, a concept paper on restoration and development of the Saru Sola Beel with an estimated cost of Rs 17.86 crore, has been lying with the Guwahati Development Department (GSS) for the past about two years.