GUWAHATI, July 20 � Nasty party politics made Guwahati lose its Rs 76-crore worth drainage and sewerage scheme, which was okayed by the Central Government at the behest of the then President of India late Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed in 1974. The scheme was a brainchild of the first Mayor of Guwahati, Late Radha Govinda (RG) Baruah, widely revered also as the architect of modern Assam.
Drainage and sewerage scheme is a must for any urban area to emerge as a modern city. Moreover, with the shifting of the State capital to it in the early 1970s, Guwahati needed to develop itself as a modern metropolis. But this need of Guwahati was ignored by the rulers.
Noted social worker and president of the voluntary organisation Save Guwahati Build Guwahati (SGBG) Dhiren Barua told a select gathering of leading citizens and journalits the above at a function to release � Aamar Guwahati � an SGBG compilation on statements and write-ups on the incidents of flash flood, landslide and eviction drives in Guwahati at the Guwahati Press Club here on July 17.
Barua said that Late RG Baruah could convince his friend Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to get the drainage and sewerage scheme cleared by the Union Government for a World Bank loan. But in Assam, his own State, the State Government refused to pay an amount of Rs 34 lakh required as margin money to get the World Bank loan amount of Rs 76 crore released. This was because of nasty party politics.
Though elected on a Congress ticket, RG Baruah had to mobilize the non-Congress councillors of the first council of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) to elect him as the first Mayor of Guwahati.
The Congress did not take it easily. Moreover, its leaders were not at all willing to allow RG to inscribe his name in the history book as the man who initiated the journey of Guwahati to attain the status of a clean city, said the SGBG president. It needs mention here that the Late Sarat Sinha was the Chief Minister of the State at that time.
The SGBG president urged the State Government not to indulge in any nasty politics while handling the development-related issues.
Releasing Aamar Guwahati, noted playwright and writer Arun Sarma said when he first arrived in Guwahati, it was a beautiful place. With the verdant hills surrounding it and the wetlands dotting its plains areas, Guwahati was an enviable place to live in. The wetlands preserved the storm run-off from the hills.
There were a few two to three storied residential complexes in Guwahati then. But, the Guwahatians have ruined their own city and the Government is also augmenting this process with its failure to scientifically develop the city into a modern metropolis, said the noted writer.
Speaking on the occasion, veteran journalist Dhirendra Nath Bezboruah alleged that the Government is violating the provisions of the Guwahati Master Plans time and again. Bharalu has been overburdened with additional loads of water beyond its carrying capacity.
He made an appeal to the Guwahatians to compel the Government to develop Guwahati into a beautiful metropolis. Former MLA Ajay Dutta flayed the Government for closing the road named after Lakshminath Bezbaroa. The road running between the Church Field (now Nehru Park) and the Judge�s Field, was an important road for those coming to and from the Guwahati Railway Station. Its closure has resulted in great inconvenience for the road users, he said.
The function was also addressed by noted lawyers Shailen Medhi, Dilip Hazarika, and SGBG office-bearers Kailash Sarma, KK Barua, Satyen Doloi and trade unionist Khanin Das, among others. A documentary film on Guwahati was also screened on the occasion.