GUWAHATI, July 5 – Encroachment on the hills has emerged as one of the burning issues of the capital city, but consultant engineer JN Khataniar of Guwahati is of the view that sudden eviction drive will not solve the problem, but will generate many problems.
Consultant engineer JN Khataniar of Guwahati, observing on the problem of encroachment and eviction, said that the issue can be solved in two ways, either the State government allow the people to stay in the hills in a proper scientific manner so that the impact in the down side of the hills can be controlled and minimized or all the residents living in the hills be rehabilitated in other suitable government land and declaration of all the hills as protected and reserved forest.
“For this, an on-the-spot assessment and strict survey shall have to be carried out. In any case, the genuine Indian citizens should not be harassed. The government must not destroy their shelter suddenly and make them roofless and landless all of a sudden, because they are our people, and not to be treated as illegal migrants from other countries,” said Khataniar.
It may be mentioned here that most of the hills around the capital city are being occupied or encroached by a large number of people, damaging the green cover and also de-stabilizing the hill slopes resulting in massive soil erosion and high silt deposition in the water drainage system, a common cause of sudden flood experienced by the Gateway to the North East.
Khataniar pointed out that unauthorized occupation on the hills has not happened overnight. “We should be aware that Guwahati is growing in a very un-planned and haphazard manner since 1973, from the time of shifting of capital from Shillong, without any long term visions. The construction byelaws, which were enforced in the year 1965, continued till 1998 without any major revision. We have prepared a master plan for Guwahati for next 25 years in the year 2009, 36 years after shifting of the capital from Shillong. What a funny initiative,” he remarked.
Khataniar regretted that nobody in power had taken any action to do a thorough on-the-spot survey of the hills population to put a full stop to further occupation or to rehabilitate the occupants in other suitable places in proper manner from humanitarian ground.
“If those people living in the hills have the right to cast their vote, as a citizen of a democratic country, they also have the right to stay at Guwahati,” Khataniar added.