Guwahati: Dighalipukhuri's Darkness Cause of Concern for Locals
The eastern side of Dighalipukhuri in Guwahati has been left bereft of streetlights ever since an old tree uprooted itself in September last taking down an electric streetlight pole with it. This has turned out to be a significant hindrance for the locals of the area.
Ever since the locals of the Dighalipukhuri vicinity in Guwahati have been faced with the issue of an unlit street as the eastern bank of the historic tank has remained shrouded in darkness.
“Ironically, this very road is used by the chief minister every morning with a security retinue of around 20 vehicles. But our honourable CM must be blissfully unaware of the absence of the streetlights,” stated a resident.
The problem arose after a tree collapsed by itself in the locality. On September 14 last, an old tree that was around 60 feet tall and which was approximately more than 100 years old, got uprooted after incessant rains and collapsed. Besides blocking the footpath, this has hindered the mobility of the residents after dark. "The fall of the tree broke the electricity post. As such, there are no streetlights in the area, the road is pitch dark in the evening," said Tridip Borah, a resident whose house is situated exactly opposite the fallen tree.
Earlier, the incident caused disruption of the footpath space with the tree lying there since the incident as only the portion of the tree that fell on the road had been cleared. This has hampered the activities of the fitness enthusiasts of the city who use the surrounding areas for jogging and walking.
However, the footpath was cleared from the debris of the fallen tree after repeated complaints were made. But the issue of installing new streetlights is yet to be addressed.
The current status of the area
Owing to the lack of streetlights, the residents have complained that the situation has caused them inconvenience in the area. "It is well known that the road is a major thoroughfare for vehicular traffic and the footpaths around the Dighalipukhuri tank are widely used by joggers and walkers. The safety of the pedestrians is compromised as many miscreants are active in snatching belongings of women, girls and elderly people under the cover of darkness. No action by way of removing the tree completely off the footpath and restoring the streetlights has taken place in the last one and a half month.
A group of residents also met the Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) to clear the collapsed tree off the footpath and to restore the street lights. However, they reveal that situation has not improved.
GMC assures repair after G Plus intervention
Taking stock of the matter, G Plus approached the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) who has assured that the issue will be taken up. G Plus spoke to Manajit Buzarbaruah of GMC, who stated that "the matter will be looked into.” He further said, "We hire contractors for one year to maintain the streetlights. Since this has been caused by a natural disaster, the GMC will have to personally repair it with new purchase or any spare that it currently possess.” This was the reason that the official gave was the cause of the delay. Nonetheless, he assured GMC's intervention to solve the matter.
The bigger issue: Heritage of Dighalipukhuri
The locals claimed that the trees of the Dighalipukhuri have become weak over the years. As such, they have approached the GMC to intervene in the situation. The locals are concerned about preventing the trees from falling to preserve the ecosystem and aesthetics of the historic area.
Madhava Nanda Dutta Bordoloi, a resident of the area has even suggested measures to salvage and reinforce the situation. In an email addressed to the GMC Commissioner, he pointed out the need for three feet high concrete constructions surrounding each tree on the footpaths and filling the same with earth for all trees around the Dighalipukhuri urgently to avoid further dying and falling of the trees.
Secondly, the branches of the existing trees need to be cut and trimmed as the old trees are falling due to the weight of their own dried out branches and stems which can be arranged.