GUWAHATI, Oct 11 � The six-member expert group formed by the Chief Minister to find a permanent solution to the problem of urban flooding in Guwahati will submit its report within six months on long-term measures to be adopted for dealing with the issue.
MGVK Bhanu, principal secretary to the CM, told reporters here today that by �March-April the long-term plan would be prepared� and added that it would take around five years to comprehensively implement the long-term measures if adequate funds are provided.
�Till now, we used to act only after the floods came in the monsoon period. Now, this time work will continue and the aim is to ensure that there are no floods in Guwahati next year,� Bhanu said.
He added that in the short and medium term, a number of steps will be initiated and steps have already been taken in this regard. �We have pledged that next year we will not allow the kind of flood which the city faced this year to occur. The State Government is giving full support to the Kamrup Metro district administration, GMC and GMDA and an action plan has been formulated for short-term and medium-term measures,� Bhanu said.
He said that maintenance of all drains in the city will now be the responsibility of the GMC, whether the drains were built by the civic body or by any other organisation like the Town and Country Planning Department or PWD.
�Earlier, tender was issued every year for clearing of drains. Now we have formed a three-year maintenance plan,� he said, adding that infrastructure would be augmented by around ten times, including 50 new pumps, of which 30 would be trolley-mounted.
�Besides, 60 electric rain gauge meters would be installed in catchment areas by means of which pumping systems could be activated during periods of rising water. All drainage channels would be desilted and work would continue even now during the post-monsoon season so that the next monsoon could be flood- free in Guwahati,� Bhanu said.
Plans are also afoot to divert rain water from the Khasi hills outside the city and an old irrigation channel near Basistha is to be activated.
Bhanu, along with Kamrup Metro Deputy Commissioner Dr M Angamuthu and GMC Commissioner S Viswanathan held a meeting with the six-member expert group today. Among members of the expert group are Prof Kapil Gupta of IIT Bombay and Prof Arup Sarma of IIT Guwahati.
He said, among the long-term strategy would be a plan to increase the capacity of the sluice gate at Bharalumukh by ten times and construction of a comprehensive underground drainage system in the city.
He said that whatever structures are found by experts to be hindering flow of rain water would be evicted and no consideration would be made.
Bhanu accepted that at many places where eviction drives were conducted in recent months, squatters have returned. �It has to be a continuous process to prevent re-encroachment so that people understand that even if they try to encroach again, it would be meaningless. So, eviction has to continue non-stop,� he said.
He said GMDA is preparing a new masterplan for the city, which will have provision for stormwater drainage and underground channels. The plan is being prepared by an Ahmedabad-based institute and would be ready within six months.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Angamuthu said that the administration has procured one dredger and two excavators, which will be used specifically for clearing waterbodies.
Prof Gupta of IIT Bombay said that after the great deluge of July 2005 in Mumbai, the local authorities there implemented a number of measures like widening of the Mithi river, construction of flood-walls, setting up of more pumping stations and evictions.
�With these measures, the susceptibility of Mumbai to flash floods have reduced by almost 80 per cent, and I believe that we can do something similar in Guwahati,� Gupta said.