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Guwahati pic-01

Guwahati, the former capital of Assam has a rich history dating back to 6th century AD and it was earlier known as Pragiyotishpura. Situated on the banks of the river Brahmaputra, this city is also the most developed and important city of not only AssamA? but also North East India. The name Guwahati is comes from two Assamese words: guwa (betel nut) and haat (market place).

Dispur, the capital of Assam is a locality in the city and is the seat of the Government of Assam. The Assam Secretariat building is located in Dispur along with the Assam Assembly House and the State Emergency Operations Centre.

The Guwahati Municipal Corporation, the citys local government, administers an area of 216 kmA?, while the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority, the planning and development administers an area of 254 kmA?. The core areas of the old city consist mainly of Pan Bazar, Uzan Bazar, Fancy Bazar and Paltan Bazaar. While, Ulubari,A? Chandmari and Zoo (RG Baruah) Road are considered as added part of the core. The city with its ancient roots offers a plethora of archaeological sites, historical monuments and cultural institutes. Guwahati is a melting pot of various Indian cultures and communities, thus making it a vibrant cosmopolitan city.

Waste management

The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has taken the initiative to take part in the cleaning work of the city besides engaging private firms. Recently, GMC Mayor Abir Patra formally launched a 5.65-crore project and sought cooperation from the public for its success. To begin with, we will collect garbage at 6.30 am and 8 am before the traffic starts jamming the streets. Later, it will be done in three shifts, said GMC Commissioner
S Viswanathan. Besides, 1000 litter bins will be placed on the streets to
collect garbage.

Last year, with the aim of a cleaner and better Guwahati, the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) of Kamrup (Metro) district, with the help of civil society groups, started a unique campaign Metropolis – I Am Responsible.

The objective of the campaign was to create awareness among city residents about the importance of maintaining hygiene in the respective localities by asking people not to throw waste on roads and drains.

Housing and real estate

The GMC has constructed apartments for the urban poor and slum dwellers in the Morakhali and Fatasil areas in the city where 636 families have been accommodated. However, considering the increasing population of the urban poor, the municipality has started preparing a plan of action for a slum-free city to implement Centres ambitious Rajiv Awas Yojna under which apartments will be constructed for the slum dwellers. There are 217 slum pockets in the city. GMC has selected Hyderabad-based Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) as consultant to prepare the action plan.

The retail real estate market size of the Northeast is currently pegged at over
11,000 crore with Guwahati leading the way with a share of over 4,000 crore. The Shristi Housing Development Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Calcutta-based Srei group, plans to invest 3,000 crore in developing the Northeasts first private sector integrated township in Guwahati.

Roads and transport

The most important corridor in the city is along the Guwahati-Shillong (GS) Road towards the south (almost 15 km from the city-center). This corridor has facilitated the growth of a southern city sub-center at Ganeshguri, along with other residential areas to the south developed during the past few decades.

The corridor extending towards the west (around 30 km from the city-center) contains a railroad linking Guwahati and other parts of the North Eastern Region east of Guwahati to rest of western Assam and India. Highway NH 37, which encircles the citys southern parts and links the southern corridor in Noumile to the western corridor in Jalukbari is currently supporting rapid development.

Lack of sufficient road space is a major problem in the city. The length of surfaced road within the city is presently at 218 km. The major corridor roads suffer from insufficient right of way, illegal construction methods, and improper planning and design. The roads in the residential neighborhoods are extremely narrow (lack of proper regulations) causing problems related to both traffic and infrastructure installations. A new mutli-level car parking in the city is nearing completion at the Paltan Bazar and it is hoped that it will ease the woes of vehicle owners in the commercial hub of the city. This project has received funds from the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.

Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and many private operators provide a considerably good city-bus system. However, it requires further modernisation and integration with city planning and management initiatives. The GMC has also taken up a new project for construction of 44 Bus Q-Shelters across the city for the benefit of ordinary commuters. Guwahati is the first city in the North-east where low-floored buses were introduced. There is no mass rapid transit system in Guwahati, although the authorities are planning for the same in future.

The Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) located at the outskirts, provides connectivity with other regions of the Northeast with regular buses for major cities and tourist destinations of the neighbouring states. Guwahati falls under the Northeast Frontier Railway zone of the Indian Railways and Guwahati Junction which is the major station of the city is the headquarters of the zone. Guwahati is serviced by the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Borjhar, about 20 km west of the center of the city. Air connectivity has improved considerably in the last couple of years with all major domestic airlines flying into Guwahati.

Education hub of North East

The city is home to Gauhati University in Jalukbari. Gauhati University was the first university in Assam to be set up in 1948. It was also the first premier educational institute to be set up in the North-East India.

The century-old Cotton College is one of the most reputed colleges in eastern India and possesses great scholastic and cultural value. The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati at Amingaon is the sixth member of the high-profile worlds renowned IITs in India. The Assam Engineering College and the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital which includes Regional Dental College and Regional College of Nursing are the two important institutions for science and technology and medical education. National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam which is one of the fourteen National Law Universities of India was established in the year 2010.

Among the citys many other institutions of higher learning are the Gauhati Commerce College, College of Veterinary Science under AAU, Government Ayurvedic College, Handique Girls College, J.B. Law College, etc. The Guwahati campus of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was also established here in 2010.

Culture and tourism

Shankardev Kalakshetra is a place that visitors should never miss if they want to have a feel of Assamese culture. It is a multipurpose cultural complex that has fulfilled its aim in protecting, promoting and preserving the cultural heritage of the communities and tribes of Assam and the country. Assam State Museum in the city houses many rare, specimens of the Ahom Dynasty. Many antiques, statues, manuscripts, written on Shashi-paat and other valuable articles are preserved and displayed here.

Guwahati is known as temple city of the North East and rightfully so because of the sheer number of temples located inside and on the outskirts of the city.

Challenges

One of the major problems plaguing this urban hub is water logging.A? Flooded streets during monsoons cause traffic snarls and also restrict movement of the locals. On the other hand, during dry season several pockets in the city were hit by water crisis recently due to reduction in the capacity of water treatment plants and poor maintenance of water pipes. Besides, illegal boring for ground water to meet the demands of potable water for new buildings is also depleting the water table. The neighbourhoods which were worst hit last summer were Kumarpara, Machkhowa, Sadilapur, parts of Chandmari and Bharalumukh areas, Anil Nagar and Tarun Nagar.

Unbridled construction of high rises is also a major cause of concern because Guwahati lies in the highest earthquake risk zone-V and within the city there are areas that are more vulnerable than other areas. For example, the Khanapara area is the most vulnerable among all other zones in the city while the Dispur area, where the capital complex is located, lies in the moderate risk zone. The city administration and the Government of Assam are making all efforts to overcome these challenges and if they are successful then Guwahati can show the way to other urban centres in the North East.