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Rains wreak havoc, many areas still under water

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 7 - A child died in a rain-triggered landslide at Jorabat, while a number of city localities continued to reel under water till evening today following large-scale inundation caused by heavy rains last night and early this morning.

The rains and the consequent water-logging also dampened the Idd festivities in the city.

Unlike in case of the recent flash flood and water-logging where the water level receded within a few hours, today�s situation stood worsened as the water did not recede in areas such as RG Baruah Road and many nearby lanes and by-lanes.

At Anil Nagar and Nabin Nagar which were among the worst-affected areas, water of the Bharalu overtopped the guard wall, creating heavy inundation.

The district administration and the NDRF pressed into service several boats to ferry the flood-hit residents to safety.

Dhiren Baruah, Chairman of GMDA, who visited Anil Nagar area along with GMDA consultant AK Endow, said that for a permanent solution to water-logging an alternative channel in addition to the Bharalu is needed.

�Ten large pumps are being used to pump out the excess water. These are, however, not permanent measures. For a lasting solution, there is an urgent need to develop an alternative channel, as the Bharalu is not in a position to bear the excess volume of water during the rainy season,� Baruah said.

Guwahati Development Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while addressing a press conference said that the annual desiltaion of the city drains were not carried out in December-January, resulting in an aggravated flood situation.

�The annual desiltation of the drains was not carried out as the contractors are yet to get a pending amount of Rs 42 crore. Additional Chief Secretary MGVK Bhanu has been asked to look into the matter and streamline the flood-prevention works,� Sarma said.

The water-logging reduced the city into a deluge of water and filth, bringing normal life of the citizens to a grinding halt. The inadequacy of the existing drainage was exposed once again, as people had a harrowing time with water everywhere.

To add to the commuters� woes, the public transport services including city buses and trekkers virtually came to a halt for quite some time following the rains. People were caught unawares by the situation, and the fact that the deluge occurred in the evening, posed a grave danger to those who dared to walk on overflowing roads and footpaths with manholes in the dark.

Water-logging, a persistent menace in the capital city, has shown little signs of abatement, with a single burst of shower being enough to send the city reeling under artificial flood. Over the years, hundreds of crores of rupees have been spent to mitigate the problem but the results have been far from inspiring.

Encroachment, deforestation and earth-cutting on the hills as also the rapid shrinkage of wetlands in the face of mounting anthropogenic pressures have been a major cause of the city�s water-logging. The State government, however, has failed to exhibit the kind of sincerity required for tackling the dual menace, with hardly any intervention coming to stop the vandalism being perpetrated on the hills and wetlands.

�Over the years, hundreds of crores of rupees have been spent for ridding the problem of water-logging, but the end result so far has been a big zero, with the menace of artificial floods worsening than before. A complete overhaul of the drainage, besides strict protection of the wetlands and hills is the need of the hour,� a resident of Chandmari said.

Another disquieting aspect of the city�s water-logging of late has been that new and new areas are experiencing artificial floods. Many areas where water-logging was unheard of till a couple of years back are now regularly bearing the brunt of the menace in the event of a single burst of shower. This shows that the authorities have totally failed to ensure a planned, scientific expansion of the city, with high-rises spurting in every conceivable open space in violation of building laws.

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