Guwahati, April 22: Guwahati Municipal Development Authority (GMDA) chairman Dhiren Baruah today accused a section of bureaucrats of not doing enough to tackle waterlogging in the city.
"A section of top officials is very sincere and committed towards making Guwahati free from artificial floods or waterlogging. Sincerity and leadership of these officials were the prime reasons why waterlogging could be checked in Nabin Nagar, Anil Nagar, Zoo Road, Lachit Nagar and some other worst-affected localities in 2015. But I am worried that lack of sincerity and willpower of another section of officials this time will again result in waterlogging in different areas," Baruah told The Telegraph today.
The GMDA is one of the main civic bodies executing various projects to curb waterlogging. Baruah alleged that a section of officials entrusted with executing various measures before the onset of monsoon are currently spending their days outside the state.
Baruah, a prominent citizen who founded Save Guwahati, Build Guwahati, an NGO, said the fate of the almost completed Noonmati-Narangi-Bonda drainage project was uncertain owing to funds crunch.
He said the project aims at minimising floods in Anil Nagar, Nabin Nagar and Lachit Nagar.
"Once the project is completed, rainwater, including the run-off from Noonmati hills, will be diverted from the back of the Guwahati Refinery to Bondajan and subsequently to the Brahmaputra. I have repeatedly asked the officials concerned to release necessary funds to complete 20 per cent work of the project. But officials are looking the other way," Baruah said.
Dispur last year took up the Mission Flood-Free Guwahati by involving the GMDA, Kamrup (metro) district administration and various departments in a bid to mitigate waterlogging.
"The concerted efforts of various departments paid dividends last year. Despite heavy rainfall, the excess rainwater could be drained out. But this process will have to be continuous and comprehensive," Baruah said.
An engineer in Guwahati Municipal Corporation, who is supervising installation of pumps and operating them to flush out rainwater from different areas, said considering excess pre-monsoon showers this time, the corporation would need more pumps. "The GMC has 32 high-capacity pumps to flush out rainwater. We will need more pumps if the present rainfall continues," he said.
"We dismantled structures that blocked the flow of water in the Bharalu and the Bahini rivers and removed encroachers. This initiative enabled the excess rainwater to flow out of low-lying areas swiftly. We had entrusted different departments to prevent encroachers from returning. Some departments even put up fencing in some areas where eviction had been carried out," Mukta Nath Saikia, additional deputy commissioner of Kamrup (metro), said.
Saikia said the administration has been digging up different river channels passing through the city to ensure that water moves through them swiftly. Sluice gates have also been installed in Bonda and over the Mora Bharalu apart from the existing ones in the Bharalumukh area.