Pristine Bharalu River Turns Into Guwahati’s Most Prominent Drain
‘Bharalu not a river, it is a drain,’ say, residents of Shantipur, Kumarpara, Bharalumukh, and nearby localities.
The accumulation of garbage in the Bharalu River that flows through the heart of Guwahati has made life difficult for those residing on its banks. The Bharalu River was once a river so clear that old residents of the locality recall swimming in it apart from going fishing on its banks. But today, the river is in a deplorably pathetic condition.
Residents blame both the authorities and some apathetic citizens with their care-a-damn attitude, who throw their trash liberally into the river.
“This lively river of yesteryears can today be termed as a dying river. Some of us, instead of paying Rs 30 per month for household garbage clearance, prefer to dump the same into this river. Perhaps this saving of Re 1 per day is something to gloat over. The government needs to give this dying river its careful consideration. But then, no point blaming the government alone, the citizens also need to sensitive,” said a resident of Shantipur area in Guwahati.
“All the water that gets logged in Athgaon, Kedar Road, Santipur and the garbage accumulated thereof that cannot be dumped into the river get dumped into our garbage system. We people throw our plastics into the drains. It would be prudent of the government to take some action against this,” he added.
A Guwahatian highlighted another problem plaguing residents near the Harayana Bhawan locality saying that there are two dustbins located there that are perennially overflowing. All the garbage of the area is collected in these dustbins and they are not cleaned regularly. “Otherwise, we’d have been relieved to that extent,” he said.
“Ever since the prolonged lockdowns have been implemented for combating COVID, a massive vegetable market operates every Sunday on the Rohini Kumar Choudhury Road which flanks the Bharalu River. Some 500 vendors operate from the market and all the garbage that is thus created is dumped into the Bharalu River,” said a resident of Kumarpara.
“The remnants are also swept into the river the next morning by the designated cleaners and sweepers from the municipal authority. Actually they should carry it away but they don’t and when you tell them anything they say that they have no system of carrying it away and they have no other option but to dump it into the river,” he added, explaining the problems faced by residents of the locality with the hope that the government would now take some action.
“One of the primary problems that we are facing as residents of this area is that there are a lot of fumes which are released. The river might as well be called as a sewerage drain. Looking at the kind of waste that is being released it very harmful, not just for us but for the entire ecosystem. I especially have an old grandmother at home and it is very dangerous for vulnerable people like her,” said Dikshita Mahanta, a resident of Shantipur.
“All garbage and sewage ultimately go into the Brahmaputra River which is the lifeline of the state. So we should all be concerned about it,” said Dikshita. “Mosquitoes are another problem we residents face, although the entire Guwahati city faces this problem. The stagnant water here along with the trash is a breeding ground of mosquitoes,” she added.
To find out more, G Plus got in touch with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) who said that the responsibility of keeping the Bharalu River clean was that of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC).
When G Plus got in touch with the Additional Commissioner of GMC, Dwijen Singh, he appreciated the concern of responsible citizens who raised the issue with authorities and gave reassurances of passing on the issue to the concerned Divisional Officer.
G Plus also got in touch with the Divisional Officer of the area to find out why the river was in such a dire condition to which his response was that the responsibility of keeping the river clean was that of the Water Resource Division.
After an episode of ‘passing the buck’, when G Plus finally got in touch with the Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation, Debajyoti Hazarika, he gave the assurance that the organization would look into the issue and try to help solve the problem of residents.