The Telegraph
Monday , July 21 , 2014
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Pilot project in Garbhanga

- Rs 4.3cr scheme to mitigate floods

Guwahati, July 20: The Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) will implement a project in the city’s Garbhanga hill for scientific management of rainwater that gushes down the hill in monsoon triggering landslides and choking drains with silt.

Siltation in the drains by sediments carried by rainwater from the hill has been identified as one of the major causes of waterlogging in the city.

The scheme, at an expenditure of Rs 4.31 crore, will be implemented by the GMDA with technical support from IIT Guwahati and Shristie, a city-based civil engineering firm, as a pilot project. Around 150 families that reside on an area of 18 hectares of land at Garbhanga hill behind the Games Village will be benefited.

The project will lay emphasis on plantation in the hills, developing efficient drainage system, putting up structures to check speed of water movement and rainwater harvesting without making any changes of the existing structures (like houses) so that the area will not be exposed to onslaught triggered by rainwater during monsoon.

The project, claimed to be the first of its kind in the country, has been seen as an important stride towards protecting the city from flash floods. Nine people were killed in landslide, electrocution and drowning last month when torrential rain lashed the city forcing the district administration to launch a massive eviction drive to free natural water channels from encroachers.

Landslides take place in many areas of the city during heavy rain which experts attribute to mostly haphazard settlement on the hills.

“As people have already settled in the hill we cannot ask them to vacate the area. Plantation has been given paramount importance in the project because it is a practical way of checking the speed of water flow from the hill and their sediment-carrying capacity. Perforated blocks will be used on the roads to prevent the water from turning muddy. A reservoir will be set up below the hill to collect sediments coming with the rainwater to prevent them from entering the major drains of the city,” said Arup Kumar Sarma, a professor of the civil engineering department of IIT Guwahati who has visualised the concept.

IIT Guwahati with funding of ministry of urban development established a centre of excellence for “Integrated land use planning and water resource management” in 2008 with Sarma as its principal investigator.

The project was an outcome of the Centre’s initiative. Local people will be involved in the execution of the project which is expected to be completed by March next year.

Sarma said various departments of the state government like the forest department and soil conservation department will be required to be involved for successful implementation of the project.

Shristie has prepared the detailed project report based on a conceptual report of IIT Guwahati. “The project will undertake works to make people feel like living with the nature,” said J.N. Khataniar, who heads Shristie. An awareness meeting was organised at Garbhanga today where residents of the area were told about the project. “It will be nice if the project, as explained to us, is executed properly,” said a resident.

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