Encroachment on the bank of Bharalu. Picture by Eastern Projections
Feb. 12: The Kamrup metropolitan district administration is finding it tough to carry out eviction drive along the Bharalu and Bahini channels because of political pressure and other factors.
Sources said though there has been widespread concern about how rampant encroachment has blocked the natural flow of the channels, the metropolitan administration has made it clear to the government that an effective and strong eviction drive is not possible under the present circumstances.
The drive to clear encroachments has assumed importance as only a few months are left for the monsoon.
Encroachment has considerably reduced the width of the Bharalu and in some areas the channel has turned into a narrow drain, choked with garbage and waste.
The eviction drives carried out by the administration in the recent years did not prove effective. Encroachers came back once again and resettled along the Bharalu and Bahini channels. Politicians and political parties are backing many of the encroachers. Some even have acquired settlement orders from the revenue department and the RCC buildings along the channels are evidence enough, the source said.
An official in the deputy commissioners office said whenever the administration tried to carry out an eviction drive along the channel it faced strong opposition and sharp reactions from different quarters particularly political parties. He said fearing adverse situation, the administration had to play safe and keep the eviction drive on hold.
In 2005, then deputy commissioner Samir Kumar Sinha carried out an inspection and survey to find out the extent of encroachment along the Bharalu and Bahini. Sinha later submitted a report to the state government suggesting measures to remove and prevent encroachments. But the government did not respond positively to the report and nothing concrete has been initiated to carry out eviction drive, the official said.
According to the official, the administration has apprised GDD minister Himanta Biswa Sarma about the problem and requested him to help the administration remove encroachment. He said unless there is a strong concerted effort, an eviction drive is not possible.
Save Guwahati Build Guwahati has raised grave concern over the apathetic attitude of the state government to clear encroachment along the channels.
Dhiren Baruah, president of the NGO, alleged that nobody is sincere and encroachers are hands in glove with politicians and bureaucrats, which is the main stumbling block for the eviction drive.