Guwahati: Over Rs 1 Cr goes down the Drain as Protestors Stain newly Painted Walls and Railings
GUWAHATI: All efforts of the PWD to beautify Guwahati has gone in vain as protestors have destroyed public properties and stained the newly painted walls. Yet, the administration is set to repair all damages.
Guwahati, which had recently undergone a creamy yellow makeover, has been stained by miscreants in the name of anti-CAB protests. This is being seen as a blot on the projection of a future Smart City as the administration has incurred over Rs 1 crore worth of loss.
As the Assam government was gearing up to host the historic Indo-Japan summit, the state leadership left no stone unturned in terms of beautification of the city. However, all efforts have now gone in vain as protestors went on a defacing spree.
"We have so far incurred a loss of approximately Rs 1.16 crores that was spent on preparing for the welcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Premier Shinzō Abe," Naba Konwar, the superintendent of Public Works Department (PWD) informed G Plus.
PWD officials were still taking stock of the situation and calculating their losses until the filing of this story. Konwar informed G Plus that the above amount does not take into account the destruction of state-owned machinery and the contractor’s JCB (land excavator) that was set on fire by protestors.
“We shall begin working on the drive soon and all damages shall be repaired shortly,” added Konwar who was disappointed by the ruckus created by the public.
According to sources, a total of approximately Rs 12 crores was sanctioned for the Indo-Japan meet.
While the anti-CAB protests started off peacefully, some protestors took to the streets of Guwahati and went on a rampage to destroy the concrete as well as green themed city's beautification.
Just when the Citizenship Amendment Bill was being tabled in the Rajya Sabha, the freshly painted walls of Guwahati were inked with ‘NO CAB’ slogans, which indeed was a massive loss of the state’s treasury.
Unknown miscreants not only defaced the freshly painted walls of the city, they also spray-painted the freshly coated dividers, demolished newly put up railings and billboards and uprooted the plastic covering the dividers and streetlights.
Large numbers of tyres were burned by protestors in the initial three days of the protests that in turn damaged the road surfaces.
“While crossing the Ganeshguri flyover to go towards 6 mile, I saw unknown miscreants uprooting the newly installed LED lights, destroying property made from our own hard-earned money,” said a resident of the city.
Video footages have also surfaced wherein protestors can be seen damaging plastic dividers at Paltan Bazar and putting them on fire. Additionally, slogans against the Modi government and CM Sarbananda Sonowal, PWD minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and the Citizenship Amendment Bill could be heard throughout the city.
As part of the beautification, prime locations like Ulubari, GS Road, GNB Road, FC Road, and MC Road had been given a makeover. The government buildings and properties along these routes were painted creamy yellow to give a uniform look. Roads had been repaired and polished with new technology called milling and paving; streetlights too got a colourful look with LED strip lights being placed around the poles, ornamental plants were put up and garbage was cleaned as per the massive clean-up and beautification drive.
The statue of Lachit Barphukan installed in the middle of the Brahmaputra, too, had been given a fresh makeover. The Brahmaputra riverfront also got a facelift as PM Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were scheduled to go on a cruise on the river.
Meanwhile, the boundary walls of Hotel Vivanta by Taj, where the Japanese Prime Minister was scheduled to halt on the night of December 15, had also been beautifully painted on Indo-Japan themes under the initiative of the Guwahati Smart City Limited.
Other places in Guwahati, including the Machkhowa foot over bridge, the boundary walls of the Sukreswar Temple and the chief minister’s official residence were also included in the beautification drive.
The India-Japan summit in Guwahati that was scheduled on December 15-16 would have been the first annual summit to be held in the northeast. It was expected to give a major push to the India-Japan Act East Forum as Japan plans to invest around Rs 13,000 crores in projects in the eight states of the region.
However, the summit has been deferred amidst the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) uproar. Although there were rumours that Bhubaneswar could be an alternative venue for the event, those rumours have also been quashed.