GUWAHATI, March 24 – Guwahati’s busiest and shabbiest commercial hub is likely to witness chaos in the run-up to Rongali Bihu, a period during which there is usually a sharp hike in footfalls.
Today, this reporter visited a number of places in Fancy Bazar and realised that all is not well in the market, which is congested, dirty, and parts of it gradually becoming a clear health hazard. It also appears that a blaze can take place anytime due to human errors or very old and faulty electrical fittings in many places.
Weeks before the Rongali Bihu is to start, the pavements have been illegally occupied by local as well as sellers from outside. There is hardly any space on the footpaths in which pedestrians can walk towards his or her destination. Nobody can say with certainty, why the businessmen have taken over the footpaths while the authorities look the other way.
At places, the stench of rotting waste is all too evident. The odour grows stronger as the day progresses. By night time it is a field day for young scavengers who in ideal times should have been at home. Many of the shopowners take no trouble to dispose of waste in designated areas but without a second thought disgorge the waste on to the road. This attracts hordes of young boys and girls who seek to find anything of value amid the rubbish.
The absence of sanitation facilities continues to be a matter of concern for people visiting the busy commercial centre, and there are only a few shops which have provisions for a decent lavatory or washroom. This is particularly inconvenient for women, children and senior citizens who visit the market.
With no foot overbridge at Fancy Bazar, pedestrians find it extremely difficult to cross over the busy MG Road. Several minor accidents have already taken place in the stretch of the road north of the commercial hub.