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GMC Expresses Preparedness to Tackle City Floods

Rifa Deka | June 27, 2020 14:49 hrs

With the arrival of first monsoon showers in the city, the fear of suffering from floods has returned to haunt the residents of Guwahati. The city’s floods are usually caused by poor network of drains which are either often clogged or unscientifically constructed.

Rapid urbanization, illegal settlements, encroachment of land, destruction of forest areas and hills are among a few major problems plaguing the city alongside the already unique topography of the city, which causes severe water logging in parts of the city each year.   

With cases of people dying due to electrocution and artificial floods caused in the city and water flooding people’s homes, the onset of monsoon this year too has brought questions to the minds of Guwahatians regarding flood preparedness of the authorities.

To seek answers to the same, G Plus got in touch with the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) to assess their preparedness for the flood season.

The Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup Metro, District Disaster Management Authorities, Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), Public Works Department (PWD), Water Resources Department and Guwahati Municipal Corporation have taken adequate measures to control the city’s artificial floods under the Mission Flood Free Guwahati, as per the GMC officials.

“The Bahini and Bharalu are being de-silted by GMC whereas the big ones, such as the Borsola, Pamohi are being looked after by GMDA. Water Resources Department also has a pump house in Bharalumukh and some drains near the railway tracks are being looked after by the Railways. Some drains near Narengi are being taken care of by Oil India Limited and the National Highway Authority is responsible for the bypass. There are many authorities involved in this and it is our duty to ensure a flood-free Guwahati for its citizens,” said Debajit Das, Chief Engineer of GMC.

In a three-year report presented by the GMC, de-silting and maintenance of all drains within Guwahati city is being done by them; a total of 330 drains have been de-silted and maintained in a total length of 396.783 kms that includes 5 major river channels within Guwahati.

GMC has permanently installed de-watering pumps in three locations to overcome the issue of artificial floods which were causing problems to residents of Anil Nagar, Nabin Nagar and Lachit Nagar. Further, 15 other de-watering pumps of varying capacities have been kept ready to pump out water in case of any flash flood in the city.

“Although the drains are cleaned, the dirt collected is left beside the drains and a part of the dirt goes back into the drain with the next shower. This is what I have noticed. Also, the vehicles that pass through these narrow lanes tend to tread over the dirt and the entire lane gets dirty even now. Apart from that, earlier, about 5 to 6 years ago, we faced major problems due to water logging in our by-lanes but over the past 2 to 3 years, we have not faced any problem as such and although water stays for some time, it flows away,” said a resident of Anil Nagar. 

Another resident shed light on a problem being faced by many people of the same locality and passersby. “The area right outside the lane where I stay gets flooded for 2 hours at least; it takes time for the water to clear out. Earlier water logging here was even worse but now we have started to take that normally because this happens each time there is heavy rain,” complained Shikha Deka, a resident who lives close to the Doordarshan Campus at RG Baruah Road.

In response to this, the official informed that the issue is being looked into by the Municipal Corporation to ensure that the problem is solved at the earliest.

The construction of the Noonmati basin drain was also taken up by GMDA for diversion of storm waters towards Bondajan and to finally discharge the same into the Brahmaputra River from the Jyotinagar Hill, Mathgharia and surrounding localities from where storm water flows into the Bharalu River.

Earlier, Anil Nagar and Nabin Nagar also used to be inundated, but now it is less affected, which is due to one big channel which has been constructed from New Guwahati FCI Godown, all the way to Bondajan.

On enquiring about the same with those living in nearby localities, Sanjeevani Goswami, a resident of Geetanagar area said, “In front of our house there is no water logging, but it starts from the Geetanagar Police Station and goes on till the beginning of the BSF Camp and sometimes till the Zoo Road Tiniali.”

“A heavy downpour leads to water logging, say from Narikalbari to the Zoo Tiniali stretch. The problem has been there and it has only been increasing year after year. Last monsoon it was really bad and we’ll see if it gets any better this year,” the resident added, hoping to get some respite from the persistent difficulties being faced by those living around the affected areas.

The Chief Engineer of GMC, who is also the Chief Engineer In-Charge of GMDA, in this regard, also said, “This was one major work done by GMDA in Noonmati Basin Drain. Prior to this, rain water from the surrounding hill areas like Choonsali Pahaar and hilly areas surrounding the refinery and Zoo-Narengi Road would lead to overflowing. But now we have constructed a 4 km long channel due to which water is diverted to the Brahmaputra River.”

The corporation is also monitoring several other projects and is engaged with engineering institutions for third party evaluation, such as the work being done at Assam Engineering College in Chandmari and P.C.P.S. Girls’ Polytechnic in Bamunimaidan in the city.

In addition to this, GMC is also actively involved in flood mitigation. The corporation has dug up two storm water reservoirs inside the Veterinary College Campus in Khanapara and areas like Juripar, Kalakshetra, providing some relief to residents from water logging during the flood season, according to data released by the corporation in its three-year report. 

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