| A grab of The Telegraph that appeared on May 4 |
May 7: Unhappy with the quality of ongoing repairs of city drains, the Kamrup (metro) district administration has asked the public works department (PWD) and Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) to submit photographic evidence of their work to cover the drains.
The instruction, which is seen as a step to prevent drain mishaps, was given to the two agencies on Saturday, during a review meeting chaired by deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri.
The instruction was issued a couple of days after a report appeared in The Telegraph on May 4 highlighting how the two government agencies — the PWD and GMC — had put up bamboo barricades to cover some drains while many were still lying unattended, despite strict instructions by the administration to cover all open drains.
This correspondent found two drains lying unattended on the way to the Guwahati railway station.
The pedestrians had to negotiate these precariously to reach the busy station.
The efforts to cover the drains were stepped up after a 13-year-old girl, Sagarika Bora, died on April 18, succumbing to injuries sustained after falling into a drain at Uzan Bazar, a portion of which was left open.
Sagarika, a Class VII student of St Mary’s School at Maligaon, fell into the drain on April 10 and suffered a liver injury, while she was on her way to buy a pair of socks with her mother and sister.
Sources in the district administration today said the two agencies were asked to provide still photographs of the repairs and cleaning of the drains and there would be no compromise on the quality, as, so far, four persons have died after falling into city drains since 2003.
“The GMC and PWD were asked to provide photographic evidence as media reports showed that the two agencies had put up only bamboo barricades around some drains. Only bamboo barricades are not a solution and this time we will not allow them to neglect their duties. This time words will not suffice and they will have to provide us with photographs of the repaired drains,” the source said.
Agnihotri on Saturday held a meeting to review the work being done by the GMC and PWD to repair the drains.
During the meeting, the two agencies had informed the deputy commissioner that the work to cover the drains had begun and those drains where bamboo barricades had been put up would also be covered properly.
Agnihotri had earlier held the PWD responsible for Sagarika’s death as the portion of the drain where the girl had fallen and injured was left open by the PWD.
“I had asked the PWD and GMC to cover all drains in February but they neglected the instructions. Now I have asked them to complete the repairs within two months and submit an action report to me. If they fail this time, we will have to initiate statutory action against them,” Agnihotri had said a day after Sagarika’s death.