‘I am putting away our valuables in a safer place and vacating my residence by tonight. I and my wife have to go to office and the kids to school tomorrow. So, I am not taking any risk,’ said Aparup Bora, a resident of Ganeshguri, expressing a common outburst of the people during monsoons. Lives are lost, properties destroyed and the city is brought to a standstill during the artificial floods in Guwahati.
This year too, with the monsoons approaching, artificial floods in Guwahati are sure to create havoc in the city once more. But GMDA and GMC are constantly putting in effort to reduce the artificial floods in the city. Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Virendra Mittal has ordered monitoring by magistrates to prevent water logging in the city during monsoon.
Mrigen Sarania, Mayor of Guwahati Municipal Corporation says, ‘We have formulated a three-layered evaluation system of the drainage system. Under it, there will be three committees, one at the ward level under councillors, second, under a third party meaning under a government technical institute, and, finally, a high-level committee and I am sure comparatively this year artificial floods in Guwahati shall be under control to some extent’.
According to the Mayor GMC have taken these measures as priority for this year which will be carried on for three years:
- Cleaning all 335 big drains and 5 rivers in the city have begun under continuous monitoring.
- Immediate removal of blockage from Bharalu River and Khanajan River is taken as priority.
- Special effort in cleaning the drains of areas affected heavily like Anil Nagar and Nabin Nagar has begun.
- Regular monitoring process has been assigned to Assam Engineering College, Assam Engineering Institute and PCPS Girls Polytechnic College for proper scientific methods.
Also, GMC has taken two projects for Solid Waste Management in the city. One is the Biomethanation Gas Plant and other OWC (Organic Waste Convertor) which will decrease bio-waste to a large extent.
Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority highlighted their plans for mitigation of Artificial Floods in Guwahati under the Mission Flood Free Guwahati.
- De-siltation of the five major channels namely Bharalu, Mora Bharalu, Basistha, Bahini and Lakhimijan to maintain cross-section and long section
- Maintenance of existing feeder drains (i.e. cleaning, garbage removal and de-siltation and eviction of blockages on the feeder drains
- Construction of new drains, roads with side drains and culverts for ensuring flow connectivity up to outfall to primary/ natural drainage channels
- Procurement of auto-mounted and trolley-mounted dewatering pumps.
Moreover, PWD and Water Resources Department are jointly devising a mechanism to control this catastrophe in the city.
According to ASDMA reports, artificial floods have become intense in Guwahati in the past few years. Although no recorded statistics exist on this but it has been observed that frequency of such extreme floods has increased. According to the city assessment report, backflow of the water from the River Brahmaputra, due to blockage in the drainage system through Bharalu and Khanajan Rivers, causes floods frequently every monsoon. The Bharalu basin is the most flood prone area in the region.
With plans for Smart City the government has a long way to go now. If the mitigation plans of GMC and GMDA doesn’t work out, there will be dearth of Global investors in Assam and Summits like Advantage Assam would do very little help to the region.
By Manjum Mahanta