GUWAHATI, Aug 7 � The Guwahatians and the authorities concerned are to be blamed for the present situation in which Guwahati faces deluge whenever a heavy shower lashes the city. It needs mention here that the rate of rainfall over the city has not shot up compared to what it used to witness during the 1950s and 1960s. But there was no incident of rain-caused flash flood in Guwahati � a sleepy and tiny administrative town then.
Former Principal of Sonaram Higher Secondary School Kumudeswar Hazarika, who has been studying the Guwahati history for the past about 20 years, is of the opinion that the phenomenon of flash flood started in the city in the late 1980s. The problem is becoming severe every passing year and its severity is found to be much this year, he maintained.
Guwahatians were not at all familiar with the phenomenon of artificial flood till the mid-1980s. The city had wide storm water carrying drains then and its natural channels were also allowed to function naturally. The city had its wetlands mostly undisturbed then and hence the storm water did not find its way to the human habitats.
The problem started when people and the administrators started interfering with nature�s arrangements, Hazarika said.
The channels like the Naojan have now been reduced into narrow sewers. The Naojan was once used by the Ahom Swargadeos to reach the Ugratara Temple from the Brahmaputra for offering pujas.
The land hungry people and the settlement officers have wiped out the Sarusola part of the Solabeel, which used to extend up to the Nehru Stadium. Senior citizens of Guwahati, including Bihagi Kabi Raghunath Choudhury, objected to the Government�s plan to allot land on the Solabeel during the 1950 when late Siddhinath Sarma was the Revenue Minister of the State. But this objection was overruled.
The Railway culvert in Ambari (Sarusola Beel) area has constricted the drains and the wetlands have been wiped out and the consequences are there for all to see. Storm water entered some houses yesterday through their windowpanes in the Lamb Road area of Uzanbazar, said Hazarika.
He maintained that beyond the Assam Tribune campus there was a vast paddy field with a handsome number of people living in the foothill areas. The present Gauhati Commerce College field was a tank known as the Ram Rai Dighi. It was dug in the pre-Ahom period.
On both sides of the RG Baruah Road, there were paddy fields and they used to serve as storm water retention basins.
Bharalu was much wide and deep then having good carrying capacity, added Hazarika.
Social worker Benudhar Barua, also an engineer, has suggested diversion of the Bharalu channel to Palasbari or Chaygaon area so that its outfall may be located at a place where the bed level of the Brahmaputra is lower than the level of the Guwahati city. Following such a formula, Dibrugarh was saved from flash flood in the 1960s, he maintained.