Inadequate Relief for Solapara Fire Victims, Residents Narrate Tales of the Devastation
GUWAHATI: In a small locality in the heart of Guwahati, lives a group of distressed people whose lives have turned even more difficult after a fire broke out in the area on February 20.
The incident took place in Solapara, just a few metres away from the Dr B Baruah Road at around 6:30 pm. Locals claimed that a candle ignited the fire which gutted seven houses. “Only one girl was present at home at the time of the incident. All our documents, clothes, furniture are burnt and now we are left with nothing,” said Renu Devi, a resident of Solapara. Renu has been living there since the past 25 years and has seen no progress ever since she had moved in. Surrounded with mountains of filth, their living conditions are way below average.
MLA Siddhartha Bhattacharya, MP Queen Oja and ex-councillor Mrigen Sarania visited the spot on the day of the incident to take stock of the situation. Residents said that Bhattacharya had given each house 3,000/-.
“As it is we do not have anything and whatever little we had burnt down in ashes. We are wearing the same clothes since that day,” said Champa Devi, another resident of Solapara who has been residing there since 30 years.
Ex-councillor, Mrigen Sarania told G Plus, “Since it is a private property and the people residing there are illegal settlers, we cannot provide them with much. Out of humanity we have given them rice, dal, vegetables etc.”
The fire hit victims further went on to talk about false hopes given by the ministers before elections. “There is no supply of water here so we travel long distances to fetch water. There is a dirty well which we use for washing clothes and bathing,” said a local of Solapara.
“They told us that they would fix the roads and provide streetlights but once they won their thrones, no one even bothered to come back and look at the condition we are living in,” the local added.
When G Plus raised the concerns of the residents with Sarania, he responded saying, “Yes, we are privately giving water supply to the residents of Solapara. In fact we even made bores for them but for the fire hit victims we will not be able to do much since GMC does not look after private land.”
The tenure of the previous municipal council ended more than a year ago and the position of councillors have remained vacant ever since. Due to this, residents of Guwahati are facing a lot of problems with roads, sanitation, garbage etc.
Guwahati Municipal Corporation commissioner, Debeswar Malakar had informed G Plus in October last that the elections do not look likely to take place within the next two months. In a recent conversation with Sarania, he said that it will take place in a few months but he also seemed unsure.
File photo of the burnt houses in Solapara area