| Help at hand
Dec. 12: Brihattar Guwahati Unnayan Samiti Aikya Mancha, an umbrella organisation of 252 unnayan samitis (development committees), will soon launch a joint crusade against encroachments on the Bahini river which used to serve as a natural drainage system of the city.
President of the organisation Amar Bezbaruah today told this correspondent that they would hold a meting on Sunday to work out details on how to organise the movement and take steps to clear the 27km stretch of the river that originates in the Meghalaya hills and passes through the city before flowing into the Brahmaputra.
“For a long time we have been shouting against allotment of Bahini river land to many private parties, businessmen and politicians for construction activities, but all our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. So, we are planning to take a joint initiative to clear the encroachments and put pressure on the government to clear the natural rivulet and save the city from the annual problem of waterlogging,” Bezbaruah said.
Bahini is a rivulet that originates in the hills of Meghalaya and passes through the city before flowing into the Brahamputra. It is one of the important rivulets which drains out rainwater from the city. But largescale encroachment on the rivulet has reduced its size and even block flow of water. As a result, the city’s waterlogging problem is getting acute every rainy season. Many people have illegally filled up the Bahini and settled on the land. The state government, too, has allotted lands to many parties and organisations for construction.
The Mancha, which has been demanding patta (land documents) to landless population, has observed that instead of evicting poor landless people living on government land, the government should free the lands allotted by it to private parties, businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats. “Hundreds of bighas of lands of Bahini river are occupied by politicians and construction firms and we want that those land should be freed to restore the original Bahini river to solve the city’s waterlogging problem. So, we have decided to take some steps ourselves and try to save the Bahini river,” Bezbaruah said.
“At our Sunday meeting, we will discuss with the nagarik samitis and urge people to donate monetarily and help us take up the initiative. We will try to clean up the Bahini to ensure natural flow of rainwater,” Bezbaruah said.
Leader of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti Akhil Gogoi had also questioned government’s allotment of land to private parties. He alleged that the government was only evicting poor and landless people from government land and instead handing over bighas of land to private builders and businessmen.
The Kamrup (metro) district administration today carried out an eviction drive at Silsako Beel and arrested two persons on charges of filling up the waterbody and seized four vans.
A team of Dispur circle office and police seized another truck and some construction materials.