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Guwahati at a glance

Guwahati is the capital of Assam and the largest city in entire North-East India. It is one of the fastest developing cities in India and often referred as the “gateway” of North Eastern Region of the country. Guwahati is located on the bank of the mighty river Brahmaputra. 


Panoramic View of Guwahati City

Geographical Location

At 26°10′ North latitude and 92°49′ East longitude Guwahati presently straddles over both sides of river Brahmaputra with larger settlement being on the southern side of the river. Located towards the South-Eastern side of Kamrup district, Guwahati is surrounded by Nalbari district in the North, Darrang and Marigaon districts in the East, Meghalaya State in the south and Goalpara & Barpeta districts in the West. The city is situated on undulating plain with varying altitudes of 49.5 meter to 55.5 meter above Mean Sea Level (MSL). The southern and the eastern sides of the city are surrounded by hillocks.

Physical Structure

Guwahati contains both hilly and plain areas. The existing Guwahati Metropolitan Area (GMA) is 262 km2. It is between the banks of the Brahmaputra river and the foothills of the Shillong plateau, with LGBI (Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International) Airport to the West and the town of  Narengi to the East.
The major components of the city are:

  • The city center with Pan Bazar, Paltan Bazar, Fancy Bazar and Uzanbazar, each one facilitating unique urban activities.
  • The extended core with Chandmari, Zoo Road and Ulubari which have a mix of retail-commercial and residential areas.
  • Either side GS (Guwahati-Shillong) Road containing retail, wholesale and offices developed along the main road; it is a densely built residential area in the inner parts.
  • The western corridor towards Kamakhya, Jalukbari and LGBI Airport.
  • The eastern corridor towards Noonmati and Narengi.

Transports

Guwahati is connected to the rest of India by roads, trains and air.

Air : People are serviced by direct flights from LGBI airport to most of the cities of the country. Besides, a few international flights are also available to different locations of the world.

Rail : Guwahati Junction which is the major station of Guwahati is the head quarter of the Northeast Frontier Railway zone apart from two other stations namely Kamakhya and New Guwahati. The city is well connected by express trains to major cities of India. Mono Rail and Metro rail projects have also been planned to arrest the chaotic traffic conditions on the city streets.

Bus : The Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) located at the outskirts, provides connectivity to other regions of the Northeast with regular buses. Guwahati has a good public transit system within the city and the adjoining areas. The government agency – Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and many private operators provide a considerably good city bus service. Guwahati is the first city in the North-east where low-floored buses under JnNURM scheme were introduced.

Ropeway : A ropeway is being constructed connecting Guwahati city with North Guwahati over Brahmaputra River. Its purpose is local travel as well as tourism.

Demography

Guwahati is one of the most rapidly growing cities in India. Population of the city as per 2011census is 963,429 which cover’s 3% of the State Population.

Average literacy rate of Guwahati city is 82.9%. It registered around 5.90% growth in literacy rate between 2001 and 2011.

As per the census 2011, the sex ratio of Guwahati city is 918 per 1000 males. Child sex ratio of girls is 1009 per 1000 boys. Total children (Age group of 0-6 years) in Guwahati city are 86,806 as per figure from Census India report on 2011. There were 43,217 boys while 43,589 are girls. The child forms 9.01 % of total population of Guwahati City.

Economic Profile

Guwahati city is the Centre of economic activity in the northeast region. It’s a major trade Centre with Asia’s biggest tea market. Work participation rate is 35.1 % and proportion of category of “other workers” is 96.8%. Employment and business sectors are government agencies, industries, transport, trade, household industries, tourism etc.

Physical Infrastructure

Roads : Lack of sufficient road space is a major problem in Guwahati causing traffic woes. The length of surfaced road within the city is presently at 218 kms. The four lane Highway NH-37 links the southern corridor to the western corridor is currently supporting rapid development. Some of the city roads are dual carriage and rest of them are single carriage. AT Road leading from the Western corridor connects the city center. The Eastern side of the city is connected to the city center by both VIP Road and GNB Road. The busiest GS Road connects the city center with the Southern corridor. The roads in the residential areas of the city are extremely narrow causing problems related to both traffic and infrastructure installations.

Water Supply : Presently only 30% of the Guwahati city area is covered under piped water supply. The total installed capacity of potable water generation under GMC area is around 20.5 MLD considering the capacities of the treatment plants at Panbazar, Patpabhri and Hengrabari although the total water produced is 79 MLD. The present requirement of water for the population would be 165 MLD. The main source of raw water for existing Guwahati Metropolitan area is the River Brahmaputra. The average discharge of river Brahmaputra near Saraighat Bridge area is 4500 m3/sec and flows nearly full for a considerable length of time. The level of water remains at 48.17 metres above MSL for 50% of the days out of 150 monsoon days. Yield from the shallow tube wells is not significant within the Guwahati Metropolitan Area. Possibilities of extracting ground water in considerable quantity are remote in the hard rocky areas.

Sewerage system : Presently the GMA does not have any integrated sewerage system except for certain pockets such as Railway colonies, Refinery and Defence establishments having their own independent system. There are generally septic tanks in Guwahati. The effluent is released untreated into the nearby drains and low-lying areas. In case of septic tanks, the soak pits are becoming non-functional in many areas because of high sub-soil little water table within a short span of time.

Drainage : With the exception of a small area of the city where Town and Country Planning, Government of Assam have implemented drainage schemes, nowhere within the Guwahati Metropolitan area any planned drainage system is in existence. The Guwahati Municipal Corporation area has got some roadside small drains which are not efficient enough to provide relief to the locality. With the studies mentioned above with little implementation and with encroachments alongside drains, inadequate section of the outfall channels, over-flooding of the local drains, de-silting of hills, inadequate section of the outfall channel, existence of low-lying ditches within the local drains pattern having inadequate banks result in frequent over-flooding of the adjoining areas due to inefficient carrying capacity. This endangers the health and property of the area. This is more so within the corporation area where density of population is high and areas where buildings rue constructed in low-lying areas blocking the natural drainage courses. The drainage situation is such that many areas of the city remain water logged during the rainy months.

Electricity : There is a gap of nearly 48 MVA between the power demand and the availability at present in Guwahati City. By 2025, the city would need an additional supply of 474 MVA power. It is proposed to build three additional Main Receiving Grid Stations (132/11 kV) of capacity 150 MVA, where power will be obtained from Assam State Electricity Board and different power plants of central sector and private sector. From here the power will further be transmitted to various sector substations (33/11 KV), which supply to the consumers.

Social Infrastructure

Education : Guwahati is considered to be the educational hub of North-East India. World Class institute IIT- Guwahati is located at the outskirts of the city. Gauhati University, the first premier university to be set up in Assam and historical Cotton college which is recently upgraded to a deemed university are also located in the city. Moreover, there are many Government, Semi-Government and private colleges providing education in the fields of Arts, Science and Commerce. Guwahati is the home to Sankardev University, the only medical university in entire North East India. Gauhati Medical College, Regional Dental College and some other private medical colleges provide education in the field of Medical Science. Many engineering colleges including Assam Engineering College are producing quality engineers every year. National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam which is one of the fourteen National Law Universities of India was established in the year 2010 and is a torchbearer in the field of legal education in North East India. Besides all these, Guwahati has many institutes and branches of different professional courses.

Health : Guwahati is an important center for health facilities in Eastern India, featuring many government and private specialty hospitals and health research centres. NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) has enhanced the health facilities in the city with upgrading the conditions of existing hospitals, Public Health centers and introducing mobile medical care units along with transit facilities for patients. The most important hospitals and nursing homes are the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital, Dispur Hospital, Guwahati Neurological Research Centre (GNRC), Down Town Hospital, International Hospital, Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Hayat Hospital and Sankardev Netralaya.

Cremation Ground : Providing public cremation grounds within the city is one of the major responsibilities of the concerned authority. The need for such facility becomes essential when the per capita availability of land in the city gets reduced every year. There are many cremation grounds in the city maintained by GMC that include Bhutnath, Nabagraha, Basistha etc. There is a few of the slum areas also have small cremation grounds within the slum area. They do not have walled enclosures, water supply or buffer planting. These can be provided to improve liveability in the slum areas.