DIBRUGARH, Oct 4 - The year 2015 will go down in history as one of the worst years for Dibrugarh, Assam’s second largest city. After a gap of more than six decades, the city witnessed unprecedented waterlogging in almost all its municipal wards last month. After almost a month since that harrowing experience, the Government is yet to come up with anything tangible to sort the city’s drainage woes, which was resented at a civic meeting here recently, organised by the Dibrugarh Nagarik Sangha.
Presided over by Professor Sunil Kumar Borthakur, the citizens’ meet was attended by office bearers of the AASU and AJYCP also, in addition to a wide section of citizens from across the city as well as from the suburbs.
At the end of the three-hour long deliberations, which included a power point presentation by chartered accountant SK Verma, an action committee was constituted to follow up on the issues with the concerned Government departments. This ten-member committee will be headed by Jogendra Nath Borah as chairman and Ron Duarah as secretary. The other members of the committee are, Suresh Kumar Verma, Chandra Prakash Agarwalla, Prabir Chakraborty, Anil Poddar, Bhupen Deka Baruah, Bhudev Phukan, Siba Prasad Dutt and Aslam Tariq Rahman (Munna).
Among the several suggestions that came up for discussions included the one by Ramen Sengupta. He said the city must have storm water high volume pumping facilities at six or seven places along the Brahmaputra, from Maijan to Mohanaghat, so that a significant pressure is taken off from the main drain. Siba Prasad Dutt added that the pumping stations should be built with latest engineering technologies and must have settlement tanks, to avoid flow of solid waste and garbage into the Brahmaputra.
Speakers at the citizens’ meet also stressed on evicting all encroachments along the city’s main drain, also called the Dibrugarh Town Protection (DTP) drain, to facilitate routine inspection and garbage clearance. Both sides of the drain has six feet wide corridors for inspection and maintenance, but is under illegal occupation by anti socials. The drain is about 23 kms long, from Paltan Bazaar to Larua, where the drain discharges into the Sessa river.
Another matter that came up for intense discussion was on the mushroom growth of multistoried apartment buildings, but without provision for garbage and water disposal. The speakers said they welcome the growth in the number of buildings, but wanted the authorities to ensure that waste water and garbage disposal is adequately provided for, before allowing these buildings to be occupied.
On the Asian Development Bank project to reconstruct the DTP drain at a cost of Rs 169 crore, the meeting resolved to take that up with the Government, so as to make suitable modifications to the planned works. The meeting vehemently opposed the proposal to make the DTP a covered drain, saying it would be to the detriment of the interest of the locals. The citizens wanted the drain to be made fully pucca, after adequate declogging of the drain floor, but without any cover. Borah said the drain should be kept open for ease of cleaning and maintenance purposes. “The cover would help contractors with a bigger construction bill, but will not help the people,” he stressed.