Narengi Residents Dissatisfied With GMC Performance
The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has failed to meet the basic living parameters in Narengi within its Ward No 24, the residents revealed.
In a survey by G Plus that was conducted in 14 categories of basic living parameters that are expected to be provided by the GMC, all the 50 families that responded unanimously said that the GMC has failed to provide satisfactory facilities in seven sectors – water supply, pest control, public toilet, drainage, streetlights, parking and traffic congestion.
Kamal Kakati, who had shifted to Narengi with his family five years ago, complained that they had not received a single drop of water since they moved in.
“Not just our family but all the residents in our vicinity have dug deep tube wells within their premises for water. I am not aware if any family here gets GMC water,” Kakati said.
He added, “There are no public toilets either. Besides electricity and garbage collection, we do not get any of the facilities that are supposed to be provided by GMC.”
The same goes for the pest control measures which are evidently lacking in Narengi. The locality had the second highest dengue-prevalence in the city after Uzan Bazar, as revealed in last year’s survey by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP).
Regarding drainage, 43 respondents (86 per cent) said that they have not seen any initiative being taken to clear the drains, while the rest seven (14 per cent) said that there had been some work done over the last five years, but it still needs improvement.
This has resulted in flash floods and created water logging issues too. 33 respondents (66 per cent) said that water logging during the monsoons is a common feature while 11 others (22 per cent) said that they have noticed water logging in some lanes as well. The rest 12 respondents (24 per cent) did not notice water logging in the area.
Vehicle parking and traffic congestion also seem to be big challenges for the residents as all the respondents said that they have neither seen any parking facility in the ward nor any holistic approach to control the traffic.
“In the peak hours which are between 2-4 pm and between 6-8 pm, the Narengi Tinali area remains crowded as vehicles coming from all directions create snarls and confusion almost every day,” Mintu Medhi, a shop keeper there said.
Regarding streetlights 47 respondents (94 per cent) expressed that there are no streetlights in the ward and the rest 3 respondents (six per cent) said that there are streetlights which does not cover the entire stretch of the road.
Regarding law and order, only three persons (six per cent) said that they feel secure in the ward while 35 (70 per cent) said that the ward needs more security. 12 persons (24 per cent) said there are no security arrangements in the ward.
Transport connectivity, the only bright side of Ward 24
The only encouraging aspect of Narengi is its transport connectivity, the residents said in the survey.
Though the ward is quite distant from the hubs of activities in the city, the residents said that it is well connected through various modes of public transport.
48 respondents (96 per cent) said that it is well connected while only two persons (4 per cent) said that it needs improvement.
Narengi is connected to Gauhati Club through Noonmati and New Guwahati, Zoo road through Geetanagar and Six Mile through VIP road.
“These three routes take us to almost every part of the city. It does not matter how far we live from the main city if we get regular low cost conveyance to those areas. At night, the numbers of such vehicles lessen, but we still get transportation till 10 pm,” Vikas Borah, who regularly commutes from Narengi, said.
Regarding the availability of hospitals, ambulances and other medical facilities, the respondents expressed satisfaction unanimously.
There are at least four medical institutions within a reasonable radius in Narengi with two of those being super-speciality hospitals.
The residents offered a mixed reaction to garbage collection. 23 persons (46 per cent) said that their garbage is being collected daily while 25 persons (50 per cent) said that it is being collected twice a week. Two residents (4 per cent) said that garbage collection is irregular.
All the respondents shared that they experience occasional load shedding.
Fund crunch reason behind lack of development: Councillor
When asked about the poor performance of GMC in the ward, councillor Paresh Kalita said that the bulk of the money that he received was spent on the road works.
Each of the GMC councillors received a total of Rs 1.9 crores in four instalments – three instalments worth Rs 30 lakhs up to 2016 and Rs 1 crore after the council re-election in 2016.
“Bulk of the money was spent on constructing the roads. A major lane takes about Rs 20 lakhs to be completed. With the first instalment, I built the road from Shantipur to Forest Gate which was in a very deplorable condition. With the second and third instalments, I built roads from Narengi to Satgaon and covered the other hilly areas. It is a difficult construction activity there and most of the residents do not have land patta. Yet, I reached as much as I could. At least 7-8 other new roads are about to be constructed with the Rs 1 crore that I have received. The tendering process is completed and the work will be completed by May,” Kalita said.
He further said that there is no GMC water connection to Narengi.
“I had been pressing the council for a long time regarding the water connections and every time I was said told that Narengi will be given preference when the water projects are completed. But it’s taking more time to complete than previously envisaged and now the residents of my ward are getting restless. I have been apprised of this issue several times, but I have no power here,” Kalita said, adding, “Similarly, I have no power in the electrification, drainage and several other services as GMC does not concern itself with those services.”
“Five years ago, Narengi did not even have whatever little development it has received now. I’ve set up streetlights at several locations when I came to power, but due to lack of maintenance, most of those are now defunct. And I have no money to repair those,” Kalita said.
If selected as a candidate for the ensuing ward election that are likely to be held mid-May, Kalita said, “People of my ward have faith in me and if I get the party ticket and thereafter get elected, I will concentrate on providing the basic facilities that are within my capacity such as regular garbage collection, maintaining streetlights etc.”
As many as 40 respondents (80 per cent) of the survey said that the councillor is an “under performer” while eight persons (16 per cent) rated his performance poor. Two (four per cent) respondents expressed satisfaction at his performance while none voted his performance as “excellent.”