Jorabat flood: where is the solution?

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Even after the administration’s strong action against encroachers, including a week-long eviction drive in an around Jorabat to mitigate the flood problem, the scenario has not changed to the expected level.

A brief downpour this morning badly inundated national highways 37 and 6 affecting the smooth flow of traffic. This led to traffic snarls for hours.

Recently, a week-long eviction drive was carried out by the Kamrup Metropolitan district administration in Jorabat area to clear a roadside drain.

Under the direction of Kamrup (M) Deputy Commissioner Virendra Mittal, a team comprising additional deputy commissioners P Mahanta, N Pathak, PP Bora and R Konwar, Circle Officer of Sonapur revenue circle Jenifer Yashmin Choudhury and officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) carried out the eviction drive against the illegal encroachment on the land meant for the drain. Over 200 structures were demolished during the drive along with deepening and broadening of the drain to increase its water-bearing capacity.

The local residents now tend to say that the eviction drive was “a failure” as the authorities had allegedly failed to hit at the right place.

A concerned section of society here smells something fishy as the NHAI is freshly indulged in building new culverts on NH-37 to mitigate the flood impact, but is showing its back to a popular demand for raising the height of the existing culvert at the Jorabat tri-junction.

So far a huge amount of money has been spent on constructing a new culvert near Hastinapur. Another culvert is being constructed near the North East Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, Jorabat, but one wonders why no initiative has been taken to raise the height of the existing culvert at Jorabat.

“During normal days, the level of water in the drain remains just few inches below the upper surface of the culvert, which overflows at the time of downpour. It is almost impossible to solve the flood problem unless the height of the culvert is raised,” a local resident said.

The locals have also stressed the need to clean the drain under the culvert as temporary relief, other than clearing only the two ends of it just to befool the residents.

There are strong allegations that there is a conspiracy among different stakeholders not to raise the height of the culvert just to favour a businessman, leaving the residents and passers-by to suffer for life.

When contacted, Sonapur Circle Officer Jenifer Yasmin Choudhury said, “We have cleared all the identified blockages in the drain and have cleared the encroachment over it along the highway, but we are not able to clear the encroachment over the drain in the inner areas as it is not possible for a JCB or a PC to enter such places.”

A plan is being formulated to shift the drain along the national highway as there will be no problem in cleaning it in future, she added.

The locals have urged the government to come up with a good plan to put an end to the menace.

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