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Bharalu to be beautified

Guwahati, July 25: The Guwahati Municipal Corporation has embarked on an eco-friendly beautification project to keep the Bharalu free from pollution and encroachment.

“We have initiated a project to beautify the 4km stretch of the river, from GS Road to Bharalumukh. The entire stretch of the river will be barricaded on both sides to prevent re-encroachment. It will have parks and jogger tracks, modular pay-and-use toilets besides covered footpaths atop which solar panels will be installed for power generation,” M.M.I.M Borah, chief engineer of the corporation, told The Telegraph today.

In the first phase (18 months) of the beautification project, the corporation plans to cover 1.7km of the stretch starting from GS Road to the mazhar (dargah) on the ASEB Road in Rupnagar.

“Funds to the tune of Rs 15crore have been allotted for the first phase by the Fourth Assam Finance Commission. Hopefully, work under the first phase should be over before winter next year. We have also sent a proposal seeking funds for the second phase,” Borah said.

The corporation will start work once the water resources department completes the dredging and widening of the river. The department, which took up the work early this month, plans to widen the river by about 10metres. A portion of the bridge (over the river) to the ASEB workshop at Rupnagar, has already been cleared.

A delegation comprising Kamrup (metro) additional deputy commissioner Dhrubajyoti Das, executive engineer D.K. Roy and GMC chief engineer Borah visited the stretch this afternoon to take stock of the eviction drive along the Bharalu.

The Kamrup metro district administration had embarked on a major eviction drive to clear the water channels in the city on June 30. The drive was carried out after nine persons lost their lives in rain-induced floods and landslides.

“Almost 90 per cent of the primary water channels have been cleared as of today while a revenue survey involving verification of land records and no-objection certificates is being carried out in the remaining areas,” additional deputy commissioner Das said.

“We will erect fences on both sides of the Bharalu covering the entire 4km length. The barricades, to be attractively structured, will leave no scope for encroachment along the stretch,” he said.

Work, however, to an extent has been hampered by the lack of space for dredgers along some stretches of the water channels and the soggy ground induced by overnight rain. “There has been delay because we have had to clear some portions of the water channels manually in the absence of space for dredgers,” Das said.

“However, the progress along the 6km stretch of the Bahini has been comparatively better given the lesser number of encroachers along the river,” he said.