Chief minister Tarun Gogoi inspects the drainage system at Ganeshguri in Guwahati on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, May 10: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today blamed the mud flowing down from the hills of neighbouring Meghalaya and haphazard dumping of waste by residents for the city’s increasing waterlogging problem.
Gogoi, who visited Ganeshguri, Zoo Road, Chandmari, Bharalumukh and areas on the GS Road, following severe waterlogging yesterday, however, remained short of making any promise about a possible solution to the increasing problem.
“I don’t want to say that the waterlogging problem will be solved soon. Encroachment of the hills are still on. We have people like (KMSS leader) Akhil Gogoi who blame us for waterlogging but at the same time support the encroachers. We are at it (checking waterlogging) but it will take time,” the three-time chief minister said.
The jibe at Akhil Gogoi was aimed at conveying how pressure groups such as the KMSS, which is at the forefront of the movement to provide land to the landless, was impeding government efforts to resolve the issue.
Most of these encroachers are settled in the hills. Things came to a head when a landless person —Pranab Boro — immolated himself in protest against Dispur’s apathy towards the landless on February 24 this year. There are over 50,000 landless settled in the hills of Guwahati.
Gogoi’s visit came following widespread criticism from the residents of the fast growing city about the city literally going under water after a brief downpour. Even today, residents of Anil Nagar hit out at the chief minister for not visiting their area, one of the worse affected in the floods.
The visit also came a day after Gogoi held a high-level meeting on waterlogging, one of the many he has held in his 13 years as chief minister after a heavy downpour. He directed the officials of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and Kamrup (Metropolitan) district administration to clear city pavements and roadside of vendors as they add to the piling up of garbage that obstructs flow of water into the drains causing flash floods.
Guwahati, with a population of over 12 lakh, including a floating segment, generates 500 tonnes of waste per day but does not have a proper disposal system. Private organisations engaged by the administration has not yielded the desired result.
“Timely cleaning of drains, proper solid waste management, clearing channels connected to the wetlands and their preservation coupled with cleaning and dredging of small rivulets that carry the waste water from the city is going to yield lasting results in solving the problem,” Gogoi told the officials.
Gogoi asked the officials to take immediate steps for dredging of Bharalu and Bondajan rivers for smooth discharge of water during the monsoon and also for clearance of the Deepor Beel from encroachment to ensure unhindered flow of water from the city into the wetland.