Guwahati MP not consulted on city development issues

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Guwahati, Jul 7 (UNI) Ruling Congress MP Kirip Chaliha, representing Assam's capital city Guwahati, today alleged that he has not been consulted in matters of Guwahati development, claiming that funds cleared by the Centre were lying unutilised, including that for saving the airport from aerosion threat.

''I have not been consulted on any matter relating to Guwahati for the past several months,'' Mr Chaliha claimed at a press conference here, when quizzed about his initiatives to solve the city's problems, especially severe water-logging and artificial floods.

Referring to the erosion threat posed by the Brahmaputra to the GNB International Airport here, the MP informed that Rs five crore was sanctioned by the Centre for controlling the erosion.

''The money is still lying unspent as the authorities claimed that erosion control did not fall under infrastructure development, under which the fund was sanctioned,'' he said.

Pointing to the world-class airport developed in Hyderabad more than 20 km away from the main city, Mr Chaliha said he had pressed for building of a new airport further away from Guwahati as well as shifting of capital complex from Dispur, in the heart of the city, to the fringes.

''But these have fallen into deaf ears and I am helpless in bringing changes in the city as an MP has limited powers,'' he said.

''The fresh water lake Deepor Beel on the outskirts of the city has been encroached but the officials have managed to conceal it and cover it up by issuing ownership rights through sly means,'' he observed.

''On paper, there is no encroachment on the Beel and I am powerless in the face of the documents that are provided,'' he added.

On the artificial floods created by a smart shower in the city and steps taken to solve it, Mr Chaliha informed that he had got cleared Rs 15 crore from DoNER Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar for desiltation of drains in the city.

''Mr Aiyar had sanctioned the money on a priority basis as desiltation was an important tool for checking the artificial flood,'' he said.

However, the MP said he has so far failed to get the funds utilised, pointing to hurdles in the implementation mechanism.

Maintaining that he had stressed on water supply and drainage schemes for the city in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Mr Chaliha informed that only the water supply scheme was approved.

''But the authorities are busy with Guwahati beautification instead of concentrating on the basic amenities,'' he added.

The MP pointed that it was the responsibility of the municipal board to take care of the basic infrastructure and there was a full-fledged Guwahati Development Department, with a Cabinet minister heading it.

UNI SG ADG SB HT1530

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