RITURAJ BORTHAKUR GUWAHATI, June 1 - The Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority is implementing an integrated land-use planning and water resource management pilot project in the Garbhanga hills to check the multiple problems of soil erosion, drainage congestion, waterlogging, landslide, water pollution and flooding in the adjacent areas. The project has been conceptualised by IITG.The Centre of Excellence for Integrated Land-use Planning and Water Resource Management of civil engineering department of IITG had carried out extensive surveys in the ten degraded urban watersheds of the city – Bhangagarh, Kahilipara, Chandmari, Hatigarh, Hengerabari, Narengi, Koinadhara, Durgasarovar, Gotanagar and Garbhanga (Games Village) – and had suggested several measures for their sustainable management.
Work on the project in progress.
GMDA Chief Executive Officer Dr M Angamuthu said degradation of the Garbhanga watershed had affected the environment of the city as a whole. “This pilot project would prove to be a significant guideline for the development of urban watersheds of the region,” he told The Assam Tribune.
Components of the project include development of roads and drains, protection against landslides and erosion through ecological management practices, development of water harvesting points along with silt traps and other drainage structures and plantation of various trees, creepers, shrubs and grasses.
“The model will be replicated in other watersheds like Hengerabari, Narakasur Hill etc,” the CEO added.
The pilot project, being implemented in Garbhanga Hill, is estimated to cost Rs 383.72 lakh. The physical progress of the project so far has been 45 per cent, according to official records.
Roads will be constructed using paver blocks. Other works include construction of retaining wall, step chutes, bamboo railing, an underground water reservoir with silt trap, geo-grids and rainwater harvesting facilities, etc.
After an extensive survey, the implementing agency has fixed the watershed boundary of Garbhanga and the total area of the watershed is said to be 18.50 hectares. Undisturbed forest area is 5.91 hectares and occupied forest area is 8.82 hectares, of which only 4 hectares can be renovated. Revenue area occupied by people in the watershed is 3.77 hectares.
“We will monitor the implementation of the project and see the results. We have already got the intended results in experiments done in the IIT campus. We are hopeful the project would lead to reduction in soil erosion from the hills,” Dr Arup Kumar Sarma, principal investigator at IITG’s Centre of Excellence for Integrated Land-use Planning and Water Resources Management (ILPWRM) told this newspaper.
The IITG has asked the Government of Assam to implement the project on a “massive scale” in the city hills.