GUWAHATI, Oct 21 - There is lack of coordination and long-term vision among the line departments engaged in the efforts to mitigate the waterlogging problem in Guwahati, said a highly placed official of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) while talking to The Assam Tribune.
�The drainage system in Guwahati is not well-planned. Moreover, many of the drains have already have been encroached by some people. On the other hand, works to maintain the drainage system, which were undertaken in recent times, were also not well-planned. The city still lacks a master drain to get rid of all the excess water,� the GMC official said.
Stating that there is still very good coordination among all the line departments regarding the waterlogging issue, the official said, �With the help of social media forums like WhatsApp, we maintain very good coordination among the line departments. But, the working system is not well planned, it is rather segregated in various locations.�
�It does not require rocket science but just a long-term vision for at least 20 years to mitigate the problem, for which we have to formulate a drainage system for Guwahati with a master drain. The topography of Guwahati comprises both low-lying areas and highlands. We have to chalk out a plan that will be suitable for such a varied topography,� the official added.
In the mean time, the GMC has been carrying out a three-year project with a budget of Rs 40 crore for de-silting various drains of the city. The project was started in the first half of this year.
According to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for controlling the urban floods in Guwahati, in order to carry out de-siltation of the drainage system, different divisions of the GMC are divided into subdivisions or groups for allocating the contract.
As per plans, the GMC division-I has been divided into five groups and Rs 522.06 lakh allocated for the de-siltation work. The division-II has been divided into four groups with the allocation of Rs 408.93 lakh, the division-III into eight groups with Rs 1792.05 lakh allocation, the division-IV into four groups with Rs 323.46 lakh, the division-V into five groups with Rs 651.87 lakh and the division-VI has been divided into three groups and Rs 308.15 lakh allocated for carrying out the de-siltation of drainage system for three years.
Again, from this year, to ensure quality in the de-siltation work, the GMC has adopted a three-tier evaluation system. Under this system, a local ward-level public committee has been formed for the first level of evaluation. The committee comprises a ward councillor, a secretary of the Area Sabha and some local residents. Their duty is to monitor the progress of de-siltation works and other maintenance on a daily basis.
At the second level, the GMC involves some technical and engineering institutions of the State for the evaluation process. In the third phase, there is a high-level committee under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner. The committee has been reviewing and monitoring the overall progress of the drainage management system.
�The amount allocated for the de-siltation work is not adequate. So, we could not properly de-silt the drains. There is a need to double the amount for undertaking the project perfectly,� the official said.
Interestingly, according to the GMC, if 1-20 mm rainfall takes place for 1.5 hours in the city, then no area will be affected by waterlogging. If 20-40 mm rainfall takes place for 1.5 hours, then Lamb Road, Liladhar Baruah Road near the AGP office at Ambari, Tokobari area and the part of RG Baruah Road near the NRL petrol pump will be affected from waterlogging. If 40-50 mm rainfall takes place for 1.5 hours, then GNB Road near the AGP office, the part of the RG Baruah Road from the Nursery point to the Zoo Tiniali point, Anil Nagar, Nabin Nagar, Lakhtokia, a part of Gandhi Basti, B Borooah Road, Mother Teresa Road, Lachit Nagar, Juripar Road, Siju Bari, Hatigaon, Last Gate, Birubari, Kahilipara Road near State Bank of India, AT Road, near Police Reserve will be affected by waterlogging.
�Rainwaters from Anil Nagar, Nabin Nagar and Lachit Nagar areas flow into the Bharalu, which in turn discharges the water in the Brahmaputra. When the water level of the Brahmaputra remains high, the sluice gate at Bharalu remains closed. During this time, waterlogging stays for a long duration,� the GMC official stated.