Guwahati Based WhatsApp Group Making ‘BIG’ Strides Towards Easing Woes
A WhatsApp group is being applauded by Guwahatians for its ‘great work’ towards addressing citizens’ grievances. The group called “BIG-Born in Guwahati” was formed by Santanu Bharali, Legal Adviser to the Chief Minister of Assam and he remains the admin of the same.
Members of the group, speaking to G Plus, praised Bharali and applauded his initiative to reach out to the citizens directly and offer support in solving their issues.
Kalyan Das, a member of the group said, “Santanu Bharali is really doing a tremendous job with the group. I have been following the group for some time now, and people’s concerns are looked into very promptly. People usually raise concerns about the issues in their immediate vicinity like drainage, roads, streetlights, and such. Even the GMC commissioner is a part of the group.”
“I brought to his notice about cleaning one of the ponds of Jorpukhuri that has not been cleaned for a long time. I also mentioned about the drains in our Jorpukhuri locality and asked if anything could be done about the blockages. Bharali immediately forwarded my complaint to the concerned department and work on the drain has already started. Currently, work is going on at the Satya Bora Lane and I was assured that the whole road will be repaired after that. GMC has also started the initial steps of cleaning the Jorpukhuri,” he added.
Another member of the group from Zoo Road said, “I raised a few issues. Firstly, I mentioned that the garbage that is pulled out from the drains is left by the side of the drain for days. I urged them to pick it up sooner. Secondly, there is a water supply issue in the area. I understand that these are greater civil issues and cannot be solved completely at once. But I must appreciate the effort put in by Santanu Bharali, as my concerns were at least heard and steps taken for the same.”
Many other civil issues have been successfully solved through this WhatsApp group. Amongst them are the road development undertaken at the Ramkrishna Mission Road, fund clearance of the Chattrakar Devalaya at Uzan Bazaar, installation of streetlights at many places including the Uzan Bazar riverside, cleaning of roads, initiating police patrolling in many places and others.
G Plus spoke to Santanu Bharali to follow his work through the WhatsApp group that has earned him laurels from Guwahatians. “I am born and brought up in Guwahati. It’s in my blood and I really want to do something for the city I love so much. I want to understand the issues faced by the citizens and try to help them as much as I can. I also have an official status which I believe can be used for the benefit of my fellow Guwahatians.”
“See, Guwahati has a lot of problems. But they are not the same everywhere. Every locality has its own set of issues like water supply, waterlogging, etc. So I thought, why not bring people from all localities in one place to get a clear picture of all these. Moreover, our BJP government has completed four years. This group will reflect the work we have done during this period and the ones we could not cater to,” he added.
When asked about the group’s formation details, Bharali said, “Initially I started a Facebook group. The name ‘Born in Guwahati’ was chosen to give a local feel and of course to attract Guwahatians. The name adds sentiments of the people. But that does not mean that people outside the city are not welcome. There are many from outside too.”
“But I realized that it was not that effective. Firstly because people were not always comfortable raising their issues openly, and most importantly, being a public group people started posting irrelevant stuff. So it did not work as I had hoped it would. Now I have opened the WhatsApp group,” he added.
The ‘Born In Guwahati’ WhatsApp group already has 247 members. These include some prominent residents of Guwahati. The Commissioner of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), Debajyoti Hazarika, Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (M), Biswajit Pegu, and other senior officials are among the members of the group.
Santanu Bharali stated, “The citizens expect us to solve their problems immediately. I have started visiting many places now. That way I get to understand their problems better. I direct the concerned department to look into the matter at the earliest. Many issues have been solved but I look forward to helping more.”
“I am planning to add the Chief Secretary, Police commissioner, and others to the group, but there is no space left to add more people. I am not sure if I should start a new WhatsApp group or something else should be done to accommodate more citizens and officials,” he said.
Members of the group told G Plus, “What I like best is that such a senior official of the government is so easily approachable. We can place our issues directly and the response is also great.”
When asked about his political aspirations for the upcoming elections, the legal adviser to the chief minister acknowledged his aspirations of contesting from the Gauhati East Constituency in the 2021 assembly elections. “I spent my entire life in this beautiful city. I definitely would like to contest.
The more Guwahati is developed it will attract more people towards northeast India. Also, people from the entire northeast come here for education, jobs, medical issues, and others. We have to develop and make the city safe. If the northeastern region is to be developed, we must start from Guwahati. It should be a smart city in character, mentality, and all.”
“I did not start the group with a political motive of course. This group is intended to help people genuinely,” Santanu Bharali clarified.
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