GUWAHATI, June 25 – Plans are afoot to cage the Bahini, Bharalu and Mora Bharalu rivers with 12-foot-high iron fences on both their banks so as to save them from being used as dustbins and thus to ensure their unhindered flow.
The State Water Resources Department (WRD) is embarking upon this plan as a final resort to save these rivers from the indiscretion of those people who are oblivious of the fact that they are indebted to these rivers in many ways.
Sources in the WRD told this correspondent that a proposal with an estimated cost of Rs 94.12 crore for construction of floodwalls along the banks of these rivers in those reaches where such structures could not be built so far, has already been submitted to the Guwahati Development Department (GDD).
As per the estimates, construction of floodwalls in the reach between chainage 1660-metre and 6000-metre of the Bharalu is likely to cost around Rs 26.71 crore.
Construction of floodwalls along the banks of the Mora Bharalu in the reach between chainage ‘0’-metre and 6515-metre is likely to cost around Rs 33.37 crore. Construction of the floodwalls along the banks of the Bahini between chainage ‘0’-metre and 8721-metre is likely to cost around Rs 34.04 crore.
About a year’s time will be needed to construct these floodwalls, sources said.
The Bharalu has now been reduced into an urban drain by blocking the Bahini near the Basistha Natun Bazar. Bahini is the name of the Bharalu in its upper reaches between Basistha and Jonali RCC bridge point.
The sluice gate that blocked the Bahini near the Basistha Natun Bazar to divert its course towards the Deepor Beel through the Basistha river, following a policy decision about 20 years back, has encouraged rampant encroachment on this river in its Natun Bazar and NH-37 reach.
As per records, the Bharalu was 30-metre wide on an average throughout its entire length between Jonali Bridge Point and its confluence with the Brahmaputra at Bharalumukh. But encroachment has reduced its width to around 20 metres on an average. At places like Tarun Nagar, Serapbhati, Fatasil, etc., the river is constricted even more, sources pointed out.
Sources alleged that the WRD is not receiving the required support from the departments concerned in freeing these rivers from the clutches of encroachers.
The constrictions faced by these rivers, like the Bahini in its Natun Bazar Sluice Gate-NH-37 reach, the Bharalu in Tarun Nagar, Serapbhati, Fatasil and Bharalumukh areas and the Mora Bharalu between Fatasil and Garchuk areas, are crucial from the flash flood management point of view for Guwahati, sources observed.