Odisha: Blame game begins over water-logging in Bhubaneshwar

The incessant rain over the last few days has exposed a shabby drainage system in the State Capital which recently bagged laurels internationally as a ‘Smart City’.

Published: 18th July 2017 09:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th July 2017 10:05 AM   |  A+A-

Residents of Sutahat, Dagbar Sahi, wade through an inundated street in Cuttack on Monday | EXPRESS

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The incessant rain over the last few days has exposed a shabby drainage system in the State Capital which recently bagged laurels internationally as a ‘Smart City’.One of the worst affected areas has been service roads along the National Highway 16 which caters to a major section of the traffic during peak hours.

While the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been shrugging off responsibility stating it to be a man-made problem and blamed the lackadaisical approach of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the messy drainage facility, the latter has refuted the BMC’s allegations.

As per the City’s topography, Iskcon Temple area is seated on a valley point which should serve as a natural drainage. Rather, the area is a concrete jungle clubbed with rampant construction and encroachment which leads to water stagnation. Besides, the service roads are water logged from the catchement areas of IRC Village and Nayapalli and not the flyover (National Highway), an NHAI official explained.

Sources said, NHAI has limited provisions to plan discharge of storm water flowing from the highway for which two culverts have been constructed on the Iskcon Temple stretch.
Flyovers along NH-16, passing by the City, have neither added nor reduced the water-logging problems. The situation was equally grave when the flyovers did not exist. It is only due to unplanned and unscientific building plan approvals which have thrown the denizens into a disastrous situation today, claimed a NHAI official.

“How can the flyovers add to water-logging problem? Rather, the discharge of storm water should have been faster with the flyovers in place, because the flow is from a height,” the official added. There is a big wall near an apartment opposite the Iskcon Temple which blocks the discharge of storm water from the two culverts to the drainage channel. This is leading to backflow of water to the service roads.

On Monday, BMC convened an emergency meeting with NHAI to draw a roadmap to address the longstanding issue. However, sources said the meeting has not yielded any solution. While the civic body has proposed that NHAI should construct a channel from Iskcon Temple area upto Acharya Vihar Square, the NHAI authorities are not willing to accept the proposal, said sources. 

The road in front of Iskcon Temple on Monday  

“We have sought some time to assess the situation. The NHAI will be discussing the matter with the Government in August once the intensity of rainfall reduces,” General Manager, NHAI, Dharmananda Sarangi said.

CM asks Collectors of 4 dists to file flood damage report in 7 days
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked Collectors of four worst flood affected districts to submit preliminary reports on damage within seven days. The Chief Minister on Monday reviewed the flood situation in Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Koraput and Cuttack districts through video conferencing with the Collectors and asked them to manage the situation effectively.

The State administration should remain alert and take steps to deal with the crisis by coordinating with different departments and field employees. He also asked the officials to take up restoration of road communication and power supply besides cleaning garbage from the roads on a war-footing. He said purification of drinking water sources in urban as well as rural areas should be completed on priority basis.

Naveen directed the health department to take immediate steps to ensure that diseases do not spread because of the flood. Besides, he said steps should be initiated to keep cattle free from diseases during the period.He directed for immediate repair of schools and anganwadi centres damaged in the flood. Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Maheswar Mohanty, Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan, Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi and senior officials from different departments were present.

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