The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 8 , 2014
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Plea & caning for eviction

Guwahati, July 7: An appeal for cooperation by the Kamrup (metro) district administration and lathicharge by police marked the eighth day of eviction here today.

The Kamrup (metro) administration appealed to citizens to cooperate with its drive to clear encroachments on waterbodies, iterating that the move was a “water channel clearing process” that would be brought to its “logical conclusion”.

Underlining a slew of measures to rid the city of the perennial problem of floods, deputy commissioner in-charge of Kamrup (metro) M. Angamuthu told reporters here that the ongoing eviction drive was nearing completion but the process to clear all encroachments in Guwahati would be continuous.

“We intend to clear all the five primary water channels and then move over to the secondary ones. After clearing the channels, we will start dredging work to make them deep and also fence them with walls. Eighty per cent of the ongoing eviction drive is over and the remaining 20 per cent will be completed within the next four to five days,” Angamuthu said.

The deputy commissioner said the eviction would be indiscriminate.

“We have identified 45 so-called big buildings around the waterbodies and are currently verifying land documents. Action will be taken against anyone at fault. The drive will be indiscriminate and brought to its logical conclusion.”

He said the administration had started verifying the GMC holding certificates shown by the people residing in and around the waterbodies. “None can be given holding certificates on government land. We will find out in which period these certificates were issued,” he said.

At Borbari, in and around Silsako Beel, the police resorted to teargas shell firing and caning to disperse a group of residents after a section prevented officials from carrying out the drive. About 10 to 15 residents and four police personnel were reportedly injured. Police sources said the incident took place around 11am.

“We had to resort to lathicharge and fire teargas shells when a mob of around 150 to 200 persons prevented the use of Watermaster (a multipurpose dredger) in the drive. A section from the mob threw stones at us,” a police official told this correspondent.

In the second phase, the administration intends to study the drainage pattern of all low-lying/flood-prone areas and undertake a scientific survey before clearing the secondary channels.

“We intend to carry out an area-specific drainage pattern study before clearing all low-lying areas. Aspects like linking drainage of areas like Anil Nagar to the Bharalu would be considered,” he said.

Apart from introducing a weather bulletin on rainfall, the administration will introduce a siren system to alert residents in the low-lying areas about rising water level, he added.

The administration has ordered the use of 17 additional water pumps to clear water during floods in the city.

“We have ordered 10 water pumps from Guwahati Municipal Corporation, six from the water resources department and one from the irrigation department,” he said.

The deputy commissioner warned all polythene users and dealers of “strong action” in a month’s time. “By August, we will start a systematic ban on the use of polythene. So be prepared,” he said.

Angamuthu said the administration would involve the municipal corporation for strengthening the resident welfare associations. “Ideally, there should be one development committee (unnayan samiti) for each bylane,” he added.

He also said action would be taken against any individual or firm piling up construction material on roads. “We will seize any such material piled up on roads and file a case against the offender,” he said.

So far, 81 bighas have been cleared at Silsako Beel. Today, 14 pucca houses, 12 mud houses and 16 boundary walls were cleared.

The administration will send an updated detailed report of a Rs 750-crore project to revamp the metropolitan area’s drainage system to the Centre by December. “We have employed the services of a firm to prepare the updated report and will send the modified data to the Centre by December,” Angamuthu said. The detailed project report was prepared in 2010-11.

The Jorhat district administration will carry out an eviction drive along the Tarajan stream in the town from tomorrow. A senior official of the administration said since the past two days notices were being served on people who had encroached upon land and illegally constructed houses by the streams and the Bhogdoi river. He said the eviction would be carried out in phases.