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Assembly glare on hotel, institutes

Guwahati, Aug. 25: The city’s flash flood problem figured in the Assembly today with some legislators seeking demolition of three buildings constructed on a wetland and obstructing flow of rainwater.

Raising the issue during question hour, AGP legislator Prafulla Kumar Mahanta asked whether Ginger Hotel was located at Silsako Beel, a notified wetland, and, if so, would the government demolish it? The hotel is owned by Roots Corporation Ltd, a subsidiary of the Tata-owned Indian Hotels Company Ltd.

Guwahati development department minister Ajanta Neog replied that the hotel was located in the notified area of the wetland but there were constrains in demolishing it because it was constructed before the Guwahati Water Bodies (Preservation and Conservation) Act, 2008, was enacted and the act does not apply with retrospective effect.

Congress MLA and former GDD minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said apart from the hotel, two other buildings, the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition and the Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development, were constructed at the mouth of the drainage outlet to the Silsako Beel, which caused flash floods in the city.

Sarma said these buildings needed to be demolished to divert excess rainwater from Dispur and its adjoining areas to the beel. He suggested that if required, the state government could acquire the buildings by paying compensation.

Neog said land was allotted for construction of buildings of the two institutes in 2000, much before the Guwahati Water Bodies (Preservation and Conservation) Act, 2008, came into force.

The land where Ginger Hotel is situated was actually allotted to the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, which leased it out for construction of the hotel in 2006, the minister added.

She told the House that the state government had constituted a one-man commission, led by retired IAS officer Bhaskar Barua, to inquire into the matter of allotment of land in ecologically sensitive areas such as wetlands and hills. After submission of the report, necessary action will be taken according to the provisions of law, she added.

In another development, Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner M. Angamuthu today issued instructions to the PWD and GMC to take immediate steps to clear drains and garbage, and shift construction materials and silt that litter the VIP Road.

The order comes a day after M.G.V.K. Bhanu, principal secretary to the chief minister, noticed that the median of VIP Road from Six Mile to Noonmati was full of garbage, drains were overflowing and heaps of silt and construction materials were dumped on the roadside.

The Kamrup (metro) administration has so far cleared 190 bighas of encroached land from primary water channels during the first phase of its eviction drive. It has initiated measures to unclog all secondary channels in the city too.

“We have cleared encroachments on all the primary water channels, including the Bharalu, Bahini, Basistha and Silsako channels, in the first phase. Now we intend to unclog all secondary channels, including drains, along the bylanes,” deputy commissioner in-charge of Kamrup (metro) M. Angamuthu had told The Telegraph last week.


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