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'Flood control, future projects': GMDA CEO discloses plans for Guwahati

Priyanka Chakrabarty , June 29, 2024
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Guwahati: Flash floods, flyovers, ropeways - that is Guwahati. Business North East recently spoke to Anbamuthan M P, the Chief Executive Officer of Guwahati Municipal Development Authority about measures for flood control and upcoming projects in the city. 

Excerpts from the interview are as under:

Business North East: What is the GMDA doing to resolve frequent flash floods? 

Anbamuthan M P: Under Mission Flood Free Guwahati, we are taking all necessary steps for flood control and management in Guwahati. Steps such as the construction of the Pump House at Silsako Beel and the Discharge Capacity of Bahini Diversion from PIBCO to Silsako Beel. De-siltation and cleaning of Bondajan Channel from Narengi Railway Station to Bondajan Pump House. De-siltation and cleaning of Bondajan Channel from Pathar Quary to Maria's Public School Point. De-siltation and cleaning of Noonmati and NBCC and Noonmati-Mothghoria drain for the year 2023-24. De-silting and cleaning of Silsako Beel in compliance with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order for the financial year 2023-24.

Direction has already been issued to concerned Engineers of GMDA to look after the timely operation of all pumping stations under GMDA under mission flood free and to regularly monitor flood situation and water levels and supervise cutting and excavation work of drains along the National Highway from Tripura Road to Gurudwara point. Under the Sponge City project, DPR for one water body each at Guwahati (Bondajan channel), Nagaon (Morikolong site), Silchar (Malini Beel, Rangir Khal), and Dibrugarh (Bogibeel) is under preparation by the consultant M/s Alluvium International Pty Ltd.

Business North East: What is happening in Silsako now?

Anbamuthan M P: The Silsako Beel has been severely impacted by large-scale encroachment, leading to urban flooding and increased pollution. We have initiated measures to restore the beel and reduce urban flooding. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the rejuvenation, bioremediation and sustainable conservation of Silsako Beel has been prepared, with the objectives of restoring and excavating the beel area to increase its retention capacity to at least 3.5 million cubic meters, reducing flash floods in the surrounding area, and constructing a peripheral drain to divert polluted water without entering the beel.

The DPR is being revised according to the repair, renovation, and restoration (RRR) guidelines for the beel excavation and bioremediation component. The project is expected to increase retention capacity to at least 3.5 million cubic meters, with 650 bighas planned for excavation. In the fiscal year 2022-23, the state government released approximately Rs 35.63 crore for the Silsako Beel excavation and Rs 15.22 crore for the excavation 2023-24.

The state government has taken steps to remove encroachments from the original area of the Silsako Beel. Around 2000 encroachment cases have been identified, with some being old settlers and about 80% being new settlers who have encroached after the implementation of the Guwahati Waterbodies (Preservation and Conservation) Act, 2008. The removal of encroachment also involves taking back areas of the wetland from various government and non-governmental organizations. Three eviction drives were conducted in May 2022, March 2023, and September 2023, with discussions with 24 organizations in the Silsako Beel area. 36 acres of land were recovered in the first eviction drive, and 166 acres of land were recovered from encroachers.

Business North East: We have heard that a 50 percent discount is given to people traveling from North Guwahati to the South Bank of Brahmaputra. Is there any plan to give a discount from South Bank to North Guwahati as well?

Anbamuthan M P: No such decision is taken at this moment. Any decision taken will be informed accordingly.

Business North East: What are the current projects happening in Guwahati for development?

Anbamuthan M P: We are undertaking several projects. Bioremediation measures for Silsako Beel in compliance with the NGT order for the year 2019-20, improvement of Bhogargaon-Lokabandhu Nagar Road at Lokabandhu Nagar, Kahilipara, Guwahati, feasibility study and master planning of integrated satellite township in the periphery of Guwahati Metropolitan Area.

Moreover, we are also undertaking redevelopment of Silpukhuri Park, the rejuvenation and beautification of Gauhati University Pond at Jalukbari, the cleaning and de-siltation of water bodies inside Gauhati University Campus, de-siltation and cleaning of Bondajan Channel from Narengi Railway Station to Bondajan Pump House, de-siltation and cleaning of Bondajan Channel from Pathar Quary to Public School Point, de-siltation and cleaning of Noonmati and NBCC  and Noonmati-Mothghoria drain for the year 2023-24.
De-silting & cleaning of Silsako Beel in compliance with the NGT order, excavation of Silsako Beel to enhance its retention capacity

We also have a proposal for the engagement of a consultant for the preparation of DPR for the creation of Sponge City for Guwahati City under a central government scheme, construction and commissioning of balance works of 107 MLD Capacity South Guwahati West Water Supply Project.

Treatment of Sarusola Beel through Bioremediation in compliance with the order, pilot project for setting up an Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Blanket-based sewage treatment plant for the Rejuvenation of Borsola Beel, construction of Kutcha drain and cleaning of OIL pipelines from Super Market point to Silsako Beel, construction of Pump House at Silsako Beel and DischargeCapacity of Bahini Diversion from PIBCO to Silsako Beel, de-siltation and cleaning of Pamohi Channel and NH drain near ISBT by engaging a fleet of machinery are also in the works.

Business North East: What GMDA is doing to have more and more environment-friendly projects in the city?

Anbamuthan M P: GMDA has taken up a pilot project for slope stabilization through revegetation measures and the creation of urban forestation on a degraded hillock at Borbari. Rejuvenation and cleaning of water bodies at Jalukbari is going on. Cleaning and removal of water hyacinths from Beel near NH 17 is also planned. For city beautification as well as to balance city infrastructure requirements with the creation and preservation of green spaces for fostering sustainable urban development in recent years, GMDA has developed many parks that not only provide recreational facilities but also provide fresh oxygen. We have created green open spaces such as Jorpukhuri Park’at Uzanbazar, remodeled Nehru Park at Panbazar, Botanical Garden at Fancy Bazar, Riverfront Park at Panbazar, SwahidUdyan at Fatasil, Amrit Udyan at Hengrabari etc.

Business North East: Please let us about the Mukhya Mantri Sahaj Ghar Achoni and what is its status now.

Anbamuthan M P: MMSGNA is an online provision of issuing building permission for residential buildings up to G+2 and plot areas up to 670sqmt, through impaneled Registered Technical personnel ERTP, having a minimum of 5 years experience in dealing with building permission-related works, through a dedicated online portal. Out of 98 new applicants, 52 are shortlisted but the list is yet to be finalized. MMSGNA was rolled out in 29 other Master Plan towns on March 16. It will be extended to other Master Plan areas, as new final masterplans are notified.

Business North East: What are the future plans?

Anbamuthan M P: GMDA is planning to expand the Riverfront Park and develop the area reclaimed after evacuating the erstwhile GMC Commissioner Office & Deputy Commissioner Kamrup Metro Office in Panbazar. Restoration and rejuvenation of Borsola Beel is also planned. Cleaning and removal of water hyacinth from Deepor Beel near NH 17 is also planned. GMDA is going to develop 7 small parks at various locations in Guwahati. The government has also notified GMDA as an implementing agency for setting up a satellite township in Jagiroad. A Master Plan for the same is being prepared by the consultant Surbana Jurong, Singapore. A proposal for the Extension of the Guwahati Metropolitan Area is in process. Moreover, the preparation of a Storm Water Drainage Master plan is in the pipeline.

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