Urban floods in Assam

The northeastern region in India holds a unique feature of multiple ethnicities, identities layered with historical and political neglect. In the recent years Guwahati has witnessed a complex array of recurring floods, political unrest due to separatist movements and ethnic conflicts, illegal immigration and environmental risks of hydro-infrastructural projects in Assam. This presentation traces parallel threads to understand the conglomeration of factors that have resulted in influx of populations in the cities from the rural fringes and peripheries of the river Brahmaputra as well as in areas that have faced ethnic violence and tension. It presents data on artificial floods in Guwahati, the political history of the region through interplay of the various central-state actors, the incidences of violence clashes and state response to such events. The data shows that the perceived threat and violence in the region has led to mistrust, displacement of populations from their original homes, loss of livelihoods and access to basic facilities resulting in out-migration and poor living conditions in the city. However even in urban conditions, the lack of systems resilience has not guaranteed a better lifestyle or standards due to lack of power and water supply, health and education facilities. Therefore the constant pull and push factors in migration are defining the population movements that are manifested due to resilience of the system – the city as an interconnected unit in contrast to the rural independence and standards of living.

More to follow..

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