NFR aids GMC in maintaining living standards in Maligaon
GUWAHATI: While regular water supply and well-lit streets are still rarities in most wards of the city, residents of Maligaon, under Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Ward No 5, expressed satisfaction regarding these services, all thanks to the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).
This was revealed in a survey conducted by G Plus in which 50 families of the ward were asked questions on 14 parameters of living standards such as water supply, streetlights, garbage collection etc.
42 respondents (84 percent) said they receive regular water while only 7 (14 percent) said they do not receive water at all.
Regarding streetlights, 36 respondents (72 percent) said that the roads are well lit, while 10 (20 percent) said the roads are vaguely lit. One said there is insufficient streetlights and three (6 percent) said that there are no lights at all.
Though most of the Maligaon and Gotanagar areas include the railway headquarters and the railway colonies and the housing quarters are under the maintenance of the NFR, several others besides the railway employees too reside there.
“The NFR provides road maintenance, streetlights, water supply and sewage treatment facilities to the railway colony,” Nagen Bhattacharya, a resident said.
“The services are provided in the demarcated areas of the NFR. Most of the houses that do not belong to the railway employees are those who had been living here before the NFR was established. There are a few encroachers too and they have also benefitted from the services of the NFR,” Bhattacharya said.
According to the survey, 43 persons (86 percent) also expressed satisfaction regarding the roads of which, 17 (34 percent) rated the roads as good and 26 (52 percent) said they were average. Only 7 (14 percent) are not satisfied of which, three said that the road conditions are bad and four termed it as pathetic.
The residents, however, have expressed satisfaction regarding the door-to-door garbage collection too, a service that the GMC provides here.
36 residents (72 percent) said that they receive the garbage collection service every day while six others said that the services are provided twice a week. Only one said that their garbage is collected once a week and 5 others (10 percent) said that the collection is irregular. 2 residents said garbage is not collected at all and they have to walk up to the nearest dustbin to dump the same.
“This area (Maligaon) might be a bit far from the city, but has better services than the city. This is mostly due to the NFR. Also, the councillor can concentrate better on the remaining residents that are not covered by the NFR,” Pulak Banarjee a resident here said.
The residents are also satisfied with the less than frequent load shedding, the transport connectivity, availability of healthcare services and the traffic movement.
Water logging still a problem due to overburdened drains
All’s not well in the otherwise untroubled Maligaon area of the GMC Ward No 5 as, during the monsoon season, water logging at certain areas are a common phenomenon.
43 (86 percent) of the respondents identified flash floods as a problem in the area of which 17 (34 percent) are of the opinion that the problem is confined to certain areas only.
The locals said flash flood is caused due to the overflow of the already overburdened drains when stormwater descends from the hills nearby after heavy rain. The drain network inside the railway colony is part of the NFR sewerage system, one of the only two such in the city, the other one being the Guwahati Refinery.
“These days the drains remain clogged due to the garbage that is stuck there. This wasn’t the case earlier. The sewage used to go to a sewage treatment plant and hence, cleared regularly. But, lately, due to rise in population, the drains have got overburdened,” Pinak Paul, a resident here said.
According to a source in the NFR, the department is going to upgrade the sewage treatment plant, but is waiting for funds to be cleared from the centre.
Meanwhile, 41 respondents out of the 50 in the G Plus survey said that the drainage system needs development.
Law and order is another issue that the residents of Maligaon are concerned about. 26 respondents (52 percent) said that the area needs more security while 10 others (20 percent) said that they don’t feel secure at all.
“With all the boons, this is one bane that has resulted from NFR being in this area and unfortunately it will stay for a long time. Because of the railway station and the transfer-prone jobs of the railway employees, every year, a fair bit of floating population comes here and leaves this region too. They come from different part of the country and more than often, their background checks are not done. Many turn out to be criminals or addicts,” Nagen Bhattacharya, a resident said.
This area, according to the Guwahati Police Commissionerate too, is one of the crime-prone areas of the city.
The residents also complained of lack of public toilets and adequate parking spaces.
GMC works count too: councillor
The councillor of Ward No 5, Nilakshi Talukdar, however, refuses to give all the credit to the NFR as she believes that the GMC has also worked amply to bring up the living standards in the area.
“Yes, the NFR activities have helped a lot, but it is a well-coordinated service provided by the Railways and the GMC. The NGOs that collect the garbage are very proactive and the streetlights and road maintenance work in the areas that are not within the railway colony have also been conducted smoothly from the councillor’s fund,” Talukdar said.
Talking about the challenges that she faces on being a Congress councillor in a BJP majority GMC council, she said, “Getting funds is not easy. Also, to get PWD contractors to execute the work is difficult. This needs constant monitoring.”
When asked about the flash flood problem, Talukdar said, “All the drains lead to the sewage treatment plant of the Railways. There is no other place where the sewage can be channelled into. We have to link to Santipur where the Bharalu River flows in order to start an independent sewerage system. This cannot be done by the counsellor alone. I have heard that the NFR will be upgrading its sewage treatment plant. Once that is done, the problems will be solved.”