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Strict building norms for hilly terrain


GUWAHATI, July 15 - With the city witnessing three deaths from landslides so far this monsoon season, the Kamrup Metro district administration and the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has now formulated strict guidelines regarding building permission in hilly areas of the city as well as looking to enhance capacity-building exercises amongst the public to prevent repeat of such incidents in future.

The administration has directed the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) and the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMA) not to accord building permission, including construction of boundary walls and guard walls, without obtaining NOC from the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).

�Moreover, the development authorities like GMDA and GMC have been directed to take steps to re-examine the already constructed buildings in the foothills and hill areas in consultation with the Soil Conservation Department and take necessary measures for prevention of incidents of landslides and other related disasters in those areas,� said Dr M Angamuthu, Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup Metro, who is also the Chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).

He said that unplanned and unscientific construction of houses and buildings in the hill areas are not only making these establishments vulnerable to erosion, landslide and other related disasters, but are also creating ecological imbalance in the environment.

�Several incidents of landslides have already occurred in the recent past leading to loss of lives and property. If construction activities in the foothills and in the hilly areas are taken up without appropriate protective soil erosion measures, it may lead to more such incidents or landslides and other related activities,� he said.

The district administration has constituted a committee comprising officers of various departments to immediately conduct a joint survey to re-examine the already existing buildings, guard walls, boundary walls and electricity poles in all the identified vulnerable sites of the hillocks, hilly areas and foothills in and around Guwahati.

The committee comprises the Chief Executive Officer of GMDA, Commissioner of GMC, Divisional Officer of Soil Conservation Department, all Circle Officers of the city, the Deputy Director of Fire and Emergency Services of Guwahati, Additional General Manager of APDCL and Superintending Engineer of PWD (Roads).

�In case any residential establishment is found to be vulnerable or unsafe, the departments concerned will ask the residents to take necessary protective and preventive measures immediately. In case of emergency, the residents of the building will be asked not to reside in the vulnerable structure. In case of any electricity pole or transformer posing threat to life and property, necessary action will be taken by APDCL immediately,� said Dr Angamuthu.

Meanwhile, a number of Executive Magistrates have been put in charge for creating awareness amongst the residents of landslide-prone areas

�They have been directed to arrange meetings with Nagarik Samitis, NGOs and civil society organisations police station-wise in coordination with the concerned officer-in-charge of the police station for the plan of action for prevention of landslide in the vulnerable areas in and around Guwahati city, including evacuation of the inhabitants in the hillocks at the time of need,� said Dr M Angamuthu.

He added that the concerned officers will organise awareness activities for the inhabitants of those areas regarding unscientific earth-cutting activities, unscientific construction and its legal implications.

�They will also identify safe places for evacuation of people from vulnerable locations. The officers have been directed to submit an action taken report to DDMA, Kamrup Metro, on a weekly basis,� said the DC.

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