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Guwahati slumps from 26th spot to 81st in Smart Cities list
City Correspondent
 GUWAHATI, Aug 4 - The delay in starting the major projects under the Guwahati Smart City Limited (GSCL), has made Guwahati slump from the 26th position to the 81st in the list of smart cities in the last three years.

High officials of GSCL said that at the initial stage they had proposed some major projects like pan city, development of the Borsola Beel, development of the Bharalu river, development of the Deepor Beel, development of the Morabharalu river, development of the Brahmaputra riverfront, installation of smart bio-toilets and water ATMs, refurbishment of the Gandhi Mandap, etc.

But due to various technical reasons and delay caused by dragging official formalities, the GSCL could not start most of these projects except installation of bio-toilets and water ATMs along with refurbishment of the Gandhi Mandap.

Sadly though, the installation of the national flag atop a 319.5-foot pole at the Gandhi Mandap on Sarania Hill here, has become the worst example of how the development of Guwahati as a smart city is going on without any proper study.

Till date the flag has been damaged about three times due to high speed wind, forcing the GSCL to stop hoisting the flag. A GSCL official stated that the quality of cloths used in making flags in India is not sturdy enough to withstand the force of the wind at such a height, due to which every time the flag is hoisted, it gets torn. This situation has arisen because the GSCL did not carry out a proper study of the project at the initial stage.

“To withstand the high velocity wind, we are now going to import the flag made from high quality fibre from Brazil and very soon we will hoist it again,” a high official of the GSCL informed.

The project was started in April, 2018 and the total project cost was Rs 2.92 crore. It is noteworthy that the flag pole is the tallest in the country with respect to the average elevation of the city. If only the height of the pole is considered, it is the third highest in the country after the one on the Attari border which is 360 feet high, and the one at Pimpri Chinchwad Bhakti Shakti Chawk in Pune that has a height of 351 feet.

Again, due to some technical reasons, the GSCL has handed over the Deepor Beel Development Project to the forest department. But according to an official source, the forest department is yet to take any step to implement the project.

Meanwhile, despite a number of drawbacks, the GSCL is going to start developing the Brahmaputra riverfront and the pan city project soon. GSCL officials informed that they have already obtained ‘no objection certificates’ from most of the line departments for these two projects and the work will start soon.

Under the Brahmaputra riverfront development project the GSCL will prepare a master landscape design for a 6-km stretch of the riverfront for development of a walkway, cycle track, jogging track, smart city pavilions, etc. It will also take bank protection measures along with various infrastructural works like development of viewpoint, water stairs, fountains, interactive pond, ramps, stairs, jetty, ferry terminals, kiosks, bridges over outflow structures, etc.

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