The first wave of floods in Assam have claimed five lives, affected 40,000 people. Barman, of Anil Nagar, says that despite promises, little changes on the ground.
1 How is the flood situation in Anil Nagar ?
It is one of the worst-hit localities in Guwahati. An hour of heavy rainfall is enough to flood homes. This has been the situation since 2002. Earlier, we would have ankle-deep water all over the house but now we are soaked till our knees. We have had to change at least five mattresses in 15 years. Most of the residents in the area have single-storey homes and they get flooded easily.
2 How is your family coping with the deluge ?
It has been tough. During the monsoon months, we often suffer from skin infections, fever and diarrhoea. Over the years, we have lost several household items — fridge, water-pump, sofa-set, washing machine, television set and, an entire bookshelf. My 18-year-old daughter has lost all her textbooks on two occasions. Two years ago, we shifted to the first floor — which we built in 2013 — and all the six rooms on the ground floor, which we earlier gave out on rent, have been lying vacant. I have been incurring losses of about Rs 75,000 every year.
3 Have the the floods affected your job ?
I run a yoga centre from my home and it has remained shut for the past two weeks. I have also lost a lot of clients. I can’t afford to sell this house and shift to another locality because of rising property prices.
4 Why have authorities failed to cope with the floods ?
There is illegal occupation of water-bodies, poor drainage… Every year, the government promises that the situation will improve but nothing seems to change on the ground. Anil Nagar is inundated every year.
5 Have you raised the issue with anyone ?
From the local municipal councillor to the Chief Minister, the Anil Nagar Nagarik Samiti has reached out to everyone. We have held dharnas, hunger strikes and even blocked roads. Nothing changes and the situation only gets more complicated.