BHUBANESWAR: The residents of this locality in the State Capital dread rains. An hour of continuous downpour leaves them marooned. They are the residents of Acharya Vihar, which has virtually turned into an island with drains flowing from all sides.The drainage channel no 4 which flows from Ekamra Kanan to Gangua Canal has been routed through Acharya Vihar colony. The construction work of a connecting channel which would have systematically diverted this drain towards Vani Vihar has been abandoned.
While the contract (construction of drain 4 through Acharya Vihar) was terminated two years back, the work is yet to resume. Neither the Water Resources Department nor Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) are willing to take responsibility for the precarious situation. As a result, residents are forced to live in a pool of drainage and sewer water from different parts of north Bhubaneswar.
Around three years back, a drainage system was planned to divert the discharge from drain no 4 through a box drain which would meet the drain behind Science Park slum. “Once this box drain (culvert) is ready, the drainage channel no 4 would bypass the residential areas of Acharya Vihar,” a former engineer of BMC said.
To add to the misery of the residents, work of the proposed drainage system stopped abruptly with 250 metres of drains being laid. The work was being carried out by drainage division which was under the Irrigation Department. Subsequently, the drainage division came under BMC and the Box Drain project remains incomplete.
“Even patients remain indoors. Leave apart an ambulance, the internal roads are in such a state that commuting on two-wheelers is very risky,” said Gangadhar Behera, a tenant.
The area houses more than 600 hundred families who have faced the fury during the continuing rains. In the last one week, at least a dozen television sets and other electrical equipments were damaged after storm water flooded houses in Acharya Vihar.
“Communication came to a standstill as vehicles remained indoors as all internal roads were inundated. Food items, cooking utensils too have gone waste with knee deep water entering our houses,” a resident SK Dey said.BMC, on the other hand, passed the buck to occupation of drain route by residents who had acquired the land and transferred the Record of Rights in their name 25 years back. The matter had to face a prolonged legal battle with 18 PILs in Orissa High Court and was settled recently, Mayor AN Jena said.
“There are 42 slum dwellings which have to be rehabilitated. Land acquisition is also being carried out simultaneously. BMC has floated a project for construction of remaining 350 metres of the proposed drain at `6.10 crore. The tenders for the project will be floated within seven days,” Jena added.