Ward Watch: Daily traffic throws normal life out of gear in Silpukhuri
GUWAHATI: Normal city life comes to a standstill every day at Silpukhuri of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Ward No 13 due to traffic congestion that lasts close to one hour during the busy hours of the day.
This was revealed in a survey conducted by G Plus in which 50 families of a particular ward were asked questions on 15 parameters of living standards in the ward. A majority of 41 persons (82 per cent) expressed dissatisfaction with the traffic congestion here. 34 persons (68 per cent) said the roads are occasionally crowded while 7 others (14 per cent) said the traffic condition is pathetic.
“This area generally remains crowded right from 9 am till 10 pm. But during the office hours, that is from 9 am to about 11.30 am, it worsens. People remain stuck in the traffic jam and have to spend half an hour to one hour to cover this 1.5 km stretch. The same happens between 6 pm to 8 pm,” Rituraj Thakur, a resident here said.
The 1.5 km stretch of Maniram Dewan Road from Gauhati Club to the Nabagraha point that is within Silpukhuri has converted into a bottle-neck for vehicles coming from both Ulubari and Ambari via Gauhati Club and from RG Baruah Road and Noonmati via Chandmari.
“Vehicles from all direction converge here due to which this area gets congested. But there are several diversions that go through the hills. The roads are encroached mostly by illegal construction. If those roads were widened and traffic was diverted through them, most of the problem would have been solved,” Akash Talukdar, a resident said.
It may be mentioned here that when one travels from Gauhati Club towards Chandmari, while the right side of the Maniram Dewan Road falls under Ward No 13, the other side, which is also called Silpukhuri falls in Ward No 12.
That apart, while most of the wards in Guwahati are more or less satisfied with the garbage collection - a service that is provided by the GMC through NGOs - Ward No 13 has set a new low standard for itself.
Only 7 respondents (14 per cent) said that their garbage is collected daily while off the rest 43 respondents, 4 (8 per cent) said the service is irregular, seven (14 per cent) said that it is being done fortnightly, 13 (26 per cent) said it is collected once a week and 19 (38 per cent) said it is collected twice a week.
“The NGOs are more involved in collecting garbage on the other side of the Sarania Hill that is South Sarania and Lachit Nagar, while on this side, they come irregularly,” Seema Saharia, a resident said.
Traffic congestion and lapses in garbage collection, however, aren’t the only woes for the residents as the ward is plagued by lack of proper water supply, pest control measures, streetlights, public toilets and parking spaces. They also complained of frequent load shedding.
Good roads work as a balm for harried commuters
For the hellish experience of those stuck in traffic jams in Silpukhuri, good roads come as a saving grace.
24 persons (48 per cent) expressed satisfaction of which, 4 (8 per cent) said the road condition is good while the rest 20 (40 per cent) said the roads are of average condition.
However, people expressed that a few by-lanes have certain broken stretches while the main road and the major arteries are more or less up to the mark. The survey revealed that of the 26 persons who gave negative response to the road condition, 15 (30 per cent) termed it to be of bad quality while 11 others said that the roads are of good quality.
“Roads here were mostly of good quality. There are a few very interior by-lanes where bulldozers cannot reach. But, after the water projects started, several roads were dug and not restored again. The main road fortunately remains untouched,” Partha Sarathi Medhi, a resident said.
This apart, the people of Silpukhuri aren’t affected by water logging, a problem that is common to almost all the wards.
A majority of 36 respondents (72 per cent) said that water logging is an issue confined to a few lanes only while 7 persons (14 per cent) said that it happens throughout the area and 7 others said there is no water logging in their area.
“Water logging only occurs occasionally when it rains too hard and for too long. The water from the Silpukhuri (a water body here) spills on to the road. That happened last year and was cleared within half an hour. This year, there was no water logging,” Suraj Chetri, a tenant here said.
35 residents (70 per cent) have said that the drainage system could be improved while 15 others (30 per cent) expressed satisfaction regarding the same. None gave a negative remark.
The area received positive remarks regarding law and order, transport connectivity, availability of health services.
Sarania Hill a major hindrance for development: Councillor
The Sarania Hill that takes up a majority of Ward No 13 is a major hindrance to providing various services, councillor Nipan Kumar Kalita said.
While of the three areas of Ward No 13, 13A and 13C lie on one side of the hill, Silpukhuri (13B) lies on the other side.
“I am aware of the problem faced by people of my ward. But most of my ward is the Sarania Hill. Now, while Pub Sarania, Gandhi Mandap and Lachit Nagar fall on one side of the hill, Silpukhuri is on the other side and one needs to take a circuitous route through Ulubari and Gauhati Club to reach Silpukhuri. This makes it difficult to provide various services,” Kalita said.
“I have asked the NGOs to provide garbage collection service regularly, but they are reluctant to make the extra effort to reach Silpukhuri daily. So, most of the time, they provide the service on alternate days. I have said that this needs to be regularised, but they are finding it difficult to do so,” Kalita said.
He said that he had apprised the traffic department several times regarding the traffic congestion and once all the roads are properly built, he will again look into formulating an alternative route.
“But we will also need the help of Ward No 12 in this regard as most of the diversions will be through that ward only,” Kalita said.
Regarding lack of regular water supply, Kalita said, “We cannot provide it over the hills as it won’t be viable. The water needs to be procured from the same channel by which Chandmari, Nabagraha, Uzan Bazar and Gauahati Club area is getting water. Moreover, water crisis is a problem that is there in almost all the wards.
We all are waiting with bated breath for the water projects to get completed,” Kalita added.
Kalita, who along with the rest of the GMC councillors have ended their 5-year term last week, is however hopeful of his chances in the forthcoming GMC elections. He said, “Most of the roads in the other wards that were dug for pipeline work still remain incomplete while most of the roads in my ward have been reconstructed with RCC blocks.”
“There might be lapses on several fronts, but the people in my ward know that I try my best,” Kalita concluded.