Flash floods have become an annual phenomenon in Guwahati, the gateway to the North East. The recurring artificial floods also bring untold miseries to the dwellers of the city.
A number of Guwahati localities remain submerged for days in a row when heavy showers take place. Life comes to a standstill as commuters wade through flooded streets to reach their schools, offices and homes. The recurring floods also inflict heavy damage on the city�s civic infrastructure.
It is not possible to control monsoon by any scientific means. But the artificial flood problem in the city has aggravated because its dwellers as well as the government are not well equipped to deal with such natural calamities. Only providing government relief to the flood-affected people is not enough to deal with the problem.
Following incessant rainfall recently, storm water submerged several low-lying areas in major parts of the city and the condition was found to be worse than it was last year. Besides waterlogging, landslides have also occurred in the hilly areas of the city.
Faulty drainage system, rampant earth-cutting on the hills, unplanned construction and inadequate civic infrastructure are some principal causes of severe waterlogging in many parts of the city. In flood-related incidents in Guwahati, at least six persons have lost their lives so far this year. The tragic deaths have naturally caused anger among the residents of the city.
On an average, eight to 10 people die every year in Guwahati due to landslides during the rainy season. More than 1.5 lakh people reside on the hills surrounding the city.
Although the present government at Dispur is well aware of the situation and trying its best to solve the problem, more scientific steps need to be taken to control the flood menace in the city. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Arrangements for controlling artificial floods should be put into place in advance before the beginning of the rainy season. Adequate funding should not be any hindrance in this regard.
2. All clogged drains in the city should be cleared before monsoon for the easy flow of floodwaters.
3. All uncovered manholes and drains must be covered with immediate effect for the safety of pedestrians.
4. Earth cutting and tree felling on the hilly areas of the city should be stopped, especially during the rainy season.
5. Awareness programmes should be organised in areas which are prone to landslides.
6. Lastly, the State Government should take necessary scientific steps for prevention of floods in consultation with highly qualified experts and engineers of the State Water Resources Department. Generous and willing citizens of the city should also come forward to help the affected people during any flood crisis.