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Plans in time of waterlogging Govt to seek IIT help on floods

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By BARNALI HANDIQUE
  • Published 5.07.12
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July 4: The Kamrup (metro) district administration will now seek the help of IIT Guwahati to conduct a study into the perennial problem of waterlogging in the city.

The study will be undertaken to find a permanent and lasting solution to bail out the residents from recurring flash floods.

The recent heavy rain had submerged several low-lying localities here under floodwater for days at a stretch, cutting off these areas from the rest of the city. While Bharalu acts as the main drain, through which floodwater can be let out from the city, the sluice gates at Bharalamukh and Bonda could not be opened this time to let out the water as the level of Brahmaputra was higher than that of Bharalu. However, this water was being let out through Mora Bharalu into Deepor Beel.

“We are in the process of approaching IIT Guwahati to conduct a scientific study on the occurrence of flash floods here. The study will cover all aspects like the geographical location of various areas, various causes leading to floods and how the problem can be solved in a scientific manner. We have to find a long-term solution feasible in addressing flood-related issues for the next 50 years or more. IIT Guwahati will also have its own terms and conditions and we will proceed accordingly,” said Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi, too, has moved the Centre for funds to take appropriate measures for solving this recurring problem. During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent visit to the city, Gogoi briefed him about a comprehensive proposal that included diversion of existing channels, construction of stormwater drains, de-silting of existing channels, renovation of sluice gates, construction of a new sluice gate and use of additional pump sets. This comprehensive plan can be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore.

As regards diversion of the existing channels to let out rainwater quicker, Agnihotri said, “Bharalu acts as the main channel through which excess water can be let out into the Brahmaputra. But the problem arises when the water level of the Bharalu and Brahmaputra rise above the danger level. The channels can definitely be diverted, but every aspect of the impact of diverting a channel will have to be considered.”

The city is in need of a proper stormwater network where all drains are well connected so that rainwater recedes fast and smoothly and can be let out into the Brahmaputra. Moreover, the existing sluice gates are also in a bad shape and in need of repair.

“The present sluice gates have undergone much wear and tear. During inspection we have found some gaps in the gates through which floodwater may be seeping into low-lying areas. We have brought this to the notice of the water resources department so that they can be repaired without delay,” said Agnihotri.