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Govt initiative for remedial measures on Guwahati floods hailed

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 5 - The State government�s initiative for timely and concrete measures for sustainable solution to the perennial problem of urban flooding in Guwahati has been hailed by social activist and former chairman of the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority Dhiren Baruah.

Referring to a correspondence from the Guwahati Development Department (GDD) that backs the plan for a citizen-centric solution to the flash flood problem, Baruah said that a concept note given by him highlighting the issues of flooding in Guwahati and other associated issues like lack of adequate drainage, proper utilisation of natural water channels etc., has been taken as the basis for finding a sustainable solution.

It may be noted that last year, many people lost their lives due to flash floods and electrocution in Guwahati.

�As winter ends, Guwahatians begin to think about the monsoon woes, the urban flooding, which they face every year. Waterlogging starts wreaking havoc much ahead of the arrival of the monsoons. To be precise, even an hour�s downpour is enough to inundate the city. I have also written to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal proposing the approach for a sustainable solution,� Baruah told The Assam Tribune.

The concept note includes a background of the primary drainage, the intensity of the problem in affected areas and action taken by different agencies to reduce the impact.

�Pumping out the water is one of the key measures taken in the affected areas. But, with continuous rainfall, the capacity of water pumps gradually fails to meet the intensity of storm water. Also, evacuating the affected people to safer places is not an option here. Excavation of the Bharalu every year has also not yielded the desired results. The two drains to divert the Noonmati basin water and part of the Bahini water from Pibco point to Silsako are expected to provide some relief in the coming days,� he added.

Along with other points, the concept note proposes some interventions including an integrated project for hills to study the storm water flow pattern that magnifies the waterlogging problem manifold.

�The catchment areas of the primary drains should be properly worked out to determine the section to accommodate the rainwater of highest intensity. It is necessary that all the ongoing works of the drains are completed before April 2018.

�Also, after studying the pattern of runoff from the hills, the Meghalaya storm water, along with part of the city�s rainwater can be diverted to low lying areas towards the River Kulsi, which will be flowing to the Brahmaputra beyond the airport,� the proposal suggested.

Some other measures including silt traps, mandatory rooftop water harvesting and ground water recharge agreement were also suggested.

�Guwahati�s drainage system is very old and insufficient to hold the torrential rains. The capacity of all types of drains should be expanded as much as possible to accommodate the storm water flow,� Baruah mentioned.

Other suggestions of the detailed concept note included preventing pollution of the Bharalu and Deepor Beel and a mechanism in place for fastest response to citizens� distress calls during urban flooding.

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