Abandoned Chatribari bio-gas plant becomes a den for drug addicts, locals frustrated
GUWAHATI: On 27th February 2018, Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) had laid the foundation stone for a biomethanation cum electric energy plant at Chatribari Bilpar area of the city. The foundation stone was laid in the presence of GMC Mayor Mrigen Sarania and the erstwhile commissioner of GMC, Monalisa Goswami. The construction work for the plant began and was going smoothly; three gas storage tanks were already set up but then slowly the work came to a halt and the site has been left abandoned for months now.
Soon after, the residents of the area started facing nuisance because of the local drug addicts. Addicts would frequently come to the spot for their illicit indulgences. Locals alleged that the young boys belonging to the Snehalaya centre for child in Paltan Bazar and a few more from the nearby localities would come to the spot on daily basis for consumption of alcohol and drugs. The spot had, for decades, served as a wholesale fish market before the vendors were evicted by the administration to build the plant.
As per the locals, one Abdul Ali, who is a resident of Dhirenpara area of Guwahati, had set up a shelter from where he supplies materials to these youths and has been running the den ever since. Ali has been accused of selling alcohol and cannabis illegally to people.
Ali has been absconding after the local residents found out about the shelter and destroyed it for good. But, the situation hasn't changed. These addicts have set up another shelter to carry out their drug abuse. After sunset the area becomes dangerous and the locals complain of facing constant harassment. Chain snatching and robbery have become rampant.
A resident, Anamika Baruah (name changed), said that the kids from Snehalaya often come to the spot to carry out such activities. “We have been facing the problem for long now, these kids come here for drugs and alcohol. They consume it to such an extent that they don’t even realise what they are doing and we feel scared to even go outside because we fear that they might harm us. They even bring girls and carry out dirty activities.”
Another resident said that these kids from Snehalaya would cut out the iron fencing near the pond and sell it off to buy drugs. They have become a menace over here. We often ask them to go away and not to carry out such activities but it seems useless as they keep on coming back. We have been complaining to the police. They have even started patrolling the area but nothing seems to help.
Babul Rajbongshi is a resident who lives close to the site and is frustrated with these activities. Rajbongshi said, “I have been a victim of their nonsense. They snatch away mobile phones of the people who pass by the area at night.
Atleast 10 to 15 cases of mobile and chain snatching is reported every month and we are seriously tired of such nuisance.” He further said that police are not patrolling the area enough to ensure security and stopping such activities. “I would like to request the authorities to take immediate action against such activities and seal the area so that further such nuisance doesn’t happen.”
Another resident said that injections and beer bottles are a common sight in that area. She said, “They bring in girls to the spot and have also built a shelter out of tin to carry out their dirty activities; we often find used injections, cough syrup bottles and dendrite tubes outside our house. We are living in complete hell.”
I fear that our kids might get influenced by such activities. The police do not do enough to ensure that such people don’t come to the area. We have sent a complaint to the office of the commissioner of police, Guwahati after which they intensified the patrolling. Gradually the frequency reduced but now it’s all the same again. They often get drunk and fight among themselves and create utter ruckus. Once they tried to cut out the iron rods of the Shiva Temple of our locality to sell it off to buy drugs and they even tried to steal the idol inside the temple due to which the idol got damaged, said Anaya (name changed) who is also a resident of that area.
Well, the residents of that area are frustrated with such activities and are seeking immediate action from the administration. The residents said that either the authority should complete the work as soon as possible and make the plant functional or they should fence the area. Drug abuse has been rampant because of the cheap availability of drugs and moreover because of the fact that Guwahati has become a transit point for the drug smugglers. Boys at a very young are getting addicted to various kinds of substances including heroine. Because of the Golden Triangle – the tri-junction of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos – it is one of the worst-affected. Drugs coming for South East Asia makes its way to the country through Manipur and then to Guwahati from where it is distributed to the rest of the country. 7.8 per cent of the population in the state is addicted to narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
However, the state government has intensified its crackdown against drug smuggling which has resulted in many rackets being busted over the recent past. But, more effective measures are needed to be taken to curb the menace of drugs in the city and especially at the local level to save the city’s kids from the menace of drugs.