|Uzanbazar fish market facing the fury of ‘Mahabahu’|
GUWAHATI, July 16 - The swelling Brahmaputra has affected around 200 families connected with the Uzanbazar Fish Market by submerging the market for the past few days.
Fish sellers and those connected with the business at this two-century-old market are finding it extremely hard to eke out a living now.
It needs to be mentioned here that the Uzanbazar Fish Market is in existence for the past 215 years and it is located right on the bank of the Brahmaputra near Naojan channel on the Mahatma Gandhi Road here.
The market is the source of livelihood for the entire fisher community of the locality. On a normal day, more than 1,000 kgs of fish are sold here. It is the main dealing place for local fish varieties and the market attracts customers from far and wide.
“But the current wave of flood has inundated the market, which has caused hardship to every fish seller. Now, all traders are selling fish on the footpath, which has affected their business,” said Bhaskar Das, an office-bearer of the Uzanbazar Fish Market Management Committee.
Das also alleged that the State government is solely responsible for the pathetic condition of the fish sellers of the market, as the government has not taken any steps despite repeated requests to construct a dyke in the fish market area.
“Last year, Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta visited our market. We requested him to develop the infrastructure of the market by building the embankment. But after the request, the department concerned has only installed some porcupines on the river bed. Due to the apathy, the whole market has now been inundated by the Brahmaputra. No MLA or Minister has come to make an on the spot study of the situation till date,” he rued.
According to Das, there was a similar situation in 2004. Since then, the Brahmaputra has been eroding its bank in this area, das added.
Kailash Sarma, secretary of the Save Guwahati Build Guwahati and a resident of Uzanbazar locality, said, “The Brahmaputra has submerged some portions and destroyed properties of some families in the MC Road locality of Uzanbazar. The manholes on the footpath in the submerged areas have become a major issue of concern,” he said.
The rising Brahmaputra has also posed a threat to Fancy Bazar, Panbazar, Machkhowa and Bharalumukh localities. The rising river has already submerged vast areas of the Bharalumukh Shankardev Udyan, the Fancy Bazar Bhagwan Mahavir Uddyan, parts of Kaliram Barua Road and all-important AT Road.
Nekib Eman Saikia, a local trader of Fancy Bazar, resented that despite the Brahmaputra eroding its bank in Fancy Bazar area for the past 15 years, the authorities concerned have not taken any steps to check it, making the situation worrisome.
Meanwhile, the flood situation has been worsening in the eastern part of the Kamrup Metro district which pushed thousands of people living in the low-lying, flood-prone areas close to the Brahmaputra to abandon their houses.
The northern portion of the railway track at Panikhaiti is now underwater. Even, several portions of the road connecting Guwahati and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary have also been submerged.
Localities like Panikhaiti, Hatishila and Chapaidang are severely affected by the floodwaters of the Brahmaputra. When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Biswajeet Pegu told this newspaper today that the embankment of the Kolong river at Sonapur is also facing a threat of a breach.
“Around 45,000 people in the district have been affected by the current wave of flood and the district administration has started the relief operations to benefit the affected people and their livestock,” Pegu said.