GUWAHATI, Sept 23 - Over the years waterlogging may have become a sort of regular occurrence in the city, but two artificial floods within a span of three days not only left the residents here miserable and threw their daily life out of gear, but also raised serious doubts about the measures that the civic bodies have taken over the last year to prevent such types of incidents.
Incessant rainfall across the city and in the neighbhouring hills of Meghalaya inundated many localities and major roads here. The rains, which started late last night, continued till past noon today.
Traffic on the RG Baruah Road was halted for many hours as the water rose to dangerous levels. On the VIP Road, many small vehicles had to be abandoned by their owners as floodwater seeped into the car engines.
Many schools and State government offices were closed on account of Srimanta Sankardeva�s birth anniversary and so students and State government employees were able to stay at home. But others had a harrowing time commuting to their places of work.
Among the worst affected were Anil Nagar, Nabin Nagar and Rajgarh, besides Pub-Sarania, Hatigaon, Zoo Tiniali, Panjabari, Down Town, VIP Road, Sarumataria, MLA Hostel, etc.
At Neelachal Hill, there was a massive landslide with pieces of rocks sliding down to the road connecting the Bhubaneswari Mandir. Nobody was however, injured. The landslide blocked the road for around two hours and also snapped a high-tension power cable. The district administration and SDRF deployed excavators to clear the road.
Residents of the city complained of repeated incidents of artificial flood.
�I was not able to go for work as the water on the street outside my house rose to a very high level and floodwater even entered the ground floor of my house,� said Dr Manigreeva Atreya, resident of Pragati Path. Dr Atreya, who works at a city hospital, said that this kind of situation happens every time whenever there is heavy rain. �The silt coming from the Meghalaya hills is deposited in the Bahini river and floodwater cannot flow out because of that,� he said.
Dwip Baruah, president of the Nabin Nagar Welfare Society, said that water level in the area had not receded till late afternoon despite round-the-clock use of pumps by the civic staff.
�Last Sunday, there was heavy rainfall for two hours or so and the administration had an excuse that in such a situation some waterlogging is inevitable. However, this time, since last night the rain was not so heavy but rather spread across many hours and so the water should have flowed out. But that did not happen. So something is seriously wrong with the anti-flood measures taken so far by the district administration, GMDA, GMC and other departments,� he maintained.
Baruah said that for a long-term solution, the authorities would have to dig up waterbodies like the Bharalu river, Deepor Beel and Silsako Beel to increase their water retaining capacity, in addition to ensuring the diversion of water by gravity flow and use of vertical turbines and taking steps for desilting.
Meanwhile, the district administration said that since last night there was around 100 mm rainfall in the city and an equal amount of rainfall in the neighbouring hills of Meghalaya.
�No doubt the people suffered massive inconvenience. We accept that. We are taking all measures to ensure that water is pumped out of residential areas. Water is receding now and, hopefully, soon all localities will be free of flood water,� Dr M Angamuthu, Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup Metro, said.
SDRF units have been deployed with boats at many localities and ten cycle-rickshaws have been used for ferrying people at Anil Nagar. �A total of 48 pumps are being used round the clock. SDRF units have been deployed in a state of high alert. Water levels have started coming down in the worst affected areas like Panjabari and VIP Road,� ADC RP Barua said.