Guwahati Ward Watch | Water-Logging Woes Disrupt Normal Life in South Sarania Bylane
Abhishek Beriwal has received national accolades for his work. But he came back to his home-town - Guwahati - from abroad with the mission of creating opportunities for the local youth and to take care of his aging parents.
As things stand in South Sarania Bye Lane No 1, both of Beriwal’s objectives are at stake due to the continuous water logging in his locality. This has hindered his plans to carry out his business as well as jeopardised his parents’ well being.
“I shifted back to India with the hope of being a shoulder to my aging parents. But the drainage situation in our by-lane is serious. Waterlogging occurs throughout the year outside my house and even after several complaints over the past 4.5 years, the issue has not been taken care of. I am afraid someday my parents would fall down in the drain water and hurt themselves,” said a dejected Beriwal.
The entrepreneur is not the only one facing the waterlogging woes. Others in the area are bearing the same onslaught of drain seepage that overflows onto the road.
“Even without rains, look at the amount of water in the drain. During rains, the water raises to the knee level. The garbage collectors dispose the waste here itself after clearing it out. When it rains, it falls back into the drain again,” said Hari Prasad Agarwal, who is one of the senior citizens of the lane. The residents of the area have lodged multiple complaints to the authorities including the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Commissioner. However, there has been no response.
“We have complained so many times, they are not willing to listen. They come and just clear the drains just. But, that's not the solution. The road ahead is raised high and the water from the hills comes inside our house. The drain also has no proper exit,” said another local resident.
GMC responds to G Plus and assures intervention
Meanwhile, to take stock of the situation, G Plus contacted GMC Joint Commissioner Sidhartha Goswami regarding the problems faced by the residents of South Sarania By-lane 1. GMC assured their intervention to address and resolve the issue. Moreover, Goswami raised aspects that have plagued the concerned place.
On the issue of garbage being kept by the road, Goswami explained the process of de-silting. “One can’t carry the wet waste immediately after the removal and as such it is kept there to dry. The problem is when it rains it falls back into the drain to clog it further. The second process which involves carrying the waste to disposal systems has not been effective due to a lack of manpower,” said the official.
The residents of By-lane 1, South Sarania, also complained about lack of coordination among their neighbourhood when the GMC authorities, in sporadic instances, come to clean the area. They further alleged that government road and drain have been encroached upon by a few families who block the passage of water through it. This is not a new thing in Guwahati as the GMC department encounters non-cooperation on a daily basis. “It’s not just about cooperating with the authorities. It’s about a civic duty. People are responsible for the cleanliness and should make use of the garbage disposal system which is just Rs 30,” said a local resident.
Are Guwahati’s drainage failures a blow to its Smart City goals?
The Smart City plan envisions establishing Guwahati as a Regional Hub for northeast India and a World-Class City by anchoring and reorienting the city towards its natural assets of being the economic, education, health, and IT- capital of the northeastern region of India. A couple of goals to achieve this include becoming a flood-resilient city and to establish a de-congested city.
The micro experience of Sarania is a harsh reality of the city that is still struggling with the core issues of water logging, garbage disposal, inefficient management and a lack of civic sense from the citizens’ part.
Speaking to G Plus, Pronab Baruah, OSD, Smart City Project highlighted the apathy and indiscipline of the citizens towards the city’s development that hinder this goal. “There is a total disregard for tax-payers’ money and GMC should impose strict fines on people who violate basic norms like proper garbage disposal. We have led numerous campaigns regarding this,” said Baruah.
Although the Smart City project has spread awareness regarding proper habits but no targeted schemes dealing with the perennial problems of the city has been enforced so far.
Along with the lack of implementation, the Smart City Project faces concerns of dense human construction near the hills where the water directly flows down from the hills. There is no space to even allow emergency services such as fire brigades in the narrow lanes of these places.
However, it would not be wise to put the entire blame of this mess to lack of civic sense and planning. A lot has to do to with the lack of manpower of GMC to which both Baruah and GMC commissioner themselves “admit to.”
Thus, the same old issues that Guwahati faces has now taken a new shape mixed with the aspirations of the younger millennial generation, a by-product of the post 90s liberalisation of the economy. The ambitions of these people as well as the Smart Project collide with the existing problems of the city.
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- Ward no 13 Guwahati
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