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Clear-drain ultimatum to residents

Guwahati, July 17: The Kamrup (metro) district administration today served a two-day deadline to residents of Nabin Nagar, one of the worst flash flood-hit areas of the city, to pull down walls or any other construction erected on drains or face strong action.

Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner (in-charge), M. Angamuthu, who visited the area, issued the warning after he found that many residents have built extensions on drains.

“I am giving them two days’ time to clear the constructions failing which the administration will demolish the structures. If they do so, they will have to pay the demolition charges. At the same time they will have to pay fines,” Angamuthu said at Nabin Nagar soon after surveying the drains.

He had discussions with residents of the locality and asked citizens’ organisations to take an initiative to ensure that the residents clear the structures for free flow of rainwater. “Drives to clean drains in Anil Nagar and Nabin Nagar are under way, but we have observed that some people have constructed slabs or walls. They should immediately clear the area,” Angamuthu said.

The district administration will launch a Facebook page to update the city’s residents about the steps being taken to check waterlogging. Officials said the residents would be able to give feedback or complaint through the social networking site page.

Anil Nagar and Nabin Nagar are the two areas worst affected by waterlogging and the problem is compounded by rainwater flowing from the neighbouring Zoo Road, Gandhibasti, Pub Sarania and Chandmari.

The residents have demanded steps to divert rainwater from the neighbouring areas. Angamuthu on Tuesday said they were planning steps to divert the water.

The deputy commissioner (in-charge) yesterday visited the neighbouring Anil Nagar to take stock of the ongoing cleaning by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation and water resources department.

The administration continued the ongoing eviction drive and demolished eight Assam-type houses, 10 toilets and one concrete wall along the Bahini today.

Cleaning of the Bahini, Bharalu, Mora Bharalu, Basistha and Bahini is under way. The administration today also launched a cleaning drive at Borsola Beel, another important waterbody.

The eviction drive was launched on June 30 after massive flash floods hit Guwahati. Nine persons died in flash floods and landslides.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has announced that the drive would continue till all illegal constructions obstructing wetlands are cleared.

Gauhati High Court today said criminal proceedings could be initiated against anyone found diverting the course of natural flow of water.

The punishment for the offence may be five years in jail, the court said.

The court made this observation during the hearing of anticipatory bail applications of 40 people in Hajo in Kamrup district who had allegedly encroached upon 1,668 bighas of government land and blocked natural flow of a river in Hajo.

The accused had moved the high court, seeking anticipatory bail, after the Hajo circle office on March 6 this year lodged an FIR against them, based on which a case was registered at Hajo police station under Sections 447 and 34 IPC and Section 25 of the Assam Land Revenue Act, 2008.

“The accused pleaded in the court that their anticipatory bail applications should be accepted as they have been living on the land since 1950. But the case diary contained no document to prove their claim. After cross examination, the court of Justice A.K. Goswami said criminal proceedings can be initiated against anyone diverting the natural flow of water and if proved guilty they may have to face five years of imprisonment,” public prosecutor Z. Kamar told The Telegraph today.

The court rejected the bail application of the accused.

Kamar said he argued before the court that diversion of the natural flow of water caused ecological imbalance thereby hampering the environment and people.