Guwahati: As the city is all set to host around 50,000 monks coming from different parts of the country for the 12-day-long much-awaited Brahmaputra Pushkar & Sanskritik Mohotsav 2019 starting from Tuesday, the government’s initiative to stop the flow of city’s polluted water from Bharalu river into Brahmaputra near Sonaram High School in Guwahati has created massive resentment among the local residents.
Coming down heavily on the district administration for trying to stop the flow of the river, some of the leading citizens of the area have alleged that the water level of Braralu river is increasing gradually due to this. If there is rain in the city in the next couple of days, this action of the district administration will create havoc for residents of nearby areas.
Speaking with EastMojo, Col (retd) R K Chaudhury, a resident of Bharalumukh area of the city, said, “For the last couple of days we have been hearing that the government of Assam is going to organise Pushkar festival on the banks of the river Brahmaputra. Two days ago, we noticed that in order to stop the flow of dirty water into the Brahmaputra, they blocked the confluence of the river with an earthen wall.”
Chaudhury further said, “As a result, the water is going to overflow and the whole environment is going to get spoiled thoroughly. I do not know why the government is taking so much of interest in celebrating a puja by creating problem both for the environment and for the locals.”
Terming that the stagnant and polluted water of Bharalu river is creating health and environment hazards for the locals, Surajeet Chakroborty, a local and an advocate by profession, said, “It is seen that the natural course of the Bharalu river has been blocked and this is an illegal act. By this, the whole environment and the people living in nearby areas will be adversely affected. It will be a very dangerous situation for the people here and this should be tackled as soon as possible.”
According to the locals, the government is paying no heed to the problem and the inflow of Bharalu river near Sonaram high school at Bharalumukh area in the city will be blocked till the 12-day-long Pushkar festival is over.
When EastMojo tried to contact Biswajit Pegu, DC, Kamrup (Metro), over the issue, he refused the meet the team citing his busy schedule on Monday.
The Brahmaputra Pushkar & Sanskritik Mohotsav 2019 is the third biggest river festival to be celebrated in the state after Namami Brahmaputra and Namami Barak in 2017. Water from seven rivers will be brought in pots and pujas will be performed at Sonaram field. It is reported that the budget of the festival is Rs 70 lakh and over 3 lakh devotees are likely to participate in the event from different parts of the country .
One of the biggest concerns in the city is the condition of Bharalu river, a small tributary of the Bhrahmaputra river flowing through the heart of Guwahati. The river carries a large proportion of the city’s municipal waste, including sewage and waste from markets, commercial establishments, hotels and restaurants, schools and institutions. Moreover, it also serves as the natural drainage for storm water runoff.
Bharalu enters the Guwahati city through its southeastern corner and is known as the Bahini or Bihini in its two upper reaches. The Bahini finds its way through thickly inhabited areas of Basistha, Beltola, Rukminigaon, Mathura Nagar, Dispur, Hengerabari, Ganeshguri and then along the RG Barua Road of the city where it finally meets with a major drain near Assam State Botanical Zoo carrying storm water from public sector establishments and domestic wastage disposed from a large area situated in eastern part of Guwahati. It is here where Bahini assumes its name, Bharalu.