After year’s first deluge, BMC wakes up to waterlogging

Despite having identified such encroachments, both BMC and Bhubaneswar Development Authority have showed little coordination in action.

Published: 24th June 2023 09:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2023 04:20 PM   |  A+A-

Students wading through a waterlogged road in Bhubaneswar. (Photo | Shamim Qureshy)

Students wading through a waterlogged road in Bhubaneswar. (Photo | Shamim Qureshy)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: A day after the season’s first monsoon showers caused heavy water-logging in the state capital exposing the shoddy drainage system of the city and its management, the top brass of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) got into a huddle to work out an action plan to prevent recurrence of deluge in the vulnerable areas.

After chairing a meeting on Thursday evening, Municipal Commissioner Vijay Amruta Kulange directed that three rapid action teams headed by additional commissioners will make site visits to areas that faced waterlogging and prepare both short-term and long-term plans to address the water-logging problem of these areas within seven days.

“The rapid action teams have been asked to keep an eye on the upcoming rainfall episodes and check if such problem is arising in any other locality. We will work on both restoring the drains and their desiltation in such areas on priority,” Kulange said.

Barely about 10 days back when the monsoon was about to onset, Mayor Sulochan Das had announced that all internal drains will be cleaned in a week while natural water channels will be desilted by June 25.  The municipal corporation had presented a Rs 690 crore annual budget in February with an outlay of Rs 141 crore towards sanitation which includes cleaning of internal drains. Natural drains are a separate component and BMC had set aside around Rs 3.5 crore for the restoration and desiltation of such systems.

While such huge sums are earmarked for maintaining and cleaning drains, the tall claims of the municipal corporation stood exposed in the first shower of monsoon which generally causes no deluge since dry open soil place and drains act as sponges and absorb most of the run-off. However, with the poor pace of cleaning and desilting, the city was waterlogged.

This time, the mindless concretisation of the open spaces has added to flooding woes in many residential areas since BMC has completely overlooked ground problems while focusing on beautification.
Another major failure has been its inability to deal with large-scale encroachments of stormwater channels. Despite having identified such encroachments, both BMC and Bhubaneswar Development Authority have shown little coordination in action.

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A burning example was an encroachment on drainage channel no 10 in Bairagi Nagar. Though BMC had identified a plot with ‘nala kisam’ and requested BDA to demolish the structure on it, it could not be carried out till storm water flooded the area on Thursday. A joint team of BMC and BDA rushed to the spot on Friday and brought down the structure which included two pucca houses and a 70 ft wall.

Similarly, natural drain no 4 which runs through ward no 4 has been encroached at several places in the Jayadev Vihar area but both the BMC and BDA are yet to act.  Meanwhile, the BMC issued two helpline numbers 1929 (already in existence) and 7008475455 to register complaints related to waterlogging.

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