Capital drainage plan back in focus with BJP forming govt

The matter holds significance because the BJP which had been pressing for it is all set to form its first government in the state soon.
A man collects water from a submerged tubewell at Mahadev Nagar near Jharpada; the waterlogged WATCO plant at Basuaghai near Tankapani road in Bhubaneswar.
A man collects water from a submerged tubewell at Mahadev Nagar near Jharpada; the waterlogged WATCO plant at Basuaghai near Tankapani road in Bhubaneswar. (File Photo | Biswanath Swain, EPS)

BHUBANESWAR: Even as Bhubaneswar gears up to deal with the issue of waterlogging during monsoon, the proposed ‘comprehensive drainage master plan’ to address the capital’s urban flooding menace is back in focus.

The matter holds significance because the BJP which had been pressing for it is all set to form its first government in the state soon. With Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) failing to address the persistent issue of urban deluge in low-lying areas of the city, demand for a comprehensive plan to improve the city’s drainage network, restoration of major storm water channels and strengthening the internal drain connectivity has been growing.

Following a series of waterlogging incidents, MP Aparajita Sarangi had in 2020 urged the then chief minister Naveen Patnaik to issue necessary instructions to authorities concerned to prepare a comprehensive master plan by taking into consideration all 13 major storm water channels and the overall cost implication.

The BJP leader had also called for a systematic and sustainable approach towards desilting drains and proper utilisation of funds sanctioned by the Housing and Urban Development department for repair and renovation of drains.

The same year, BMC too, had pitched for a special scheme for storm water management before the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs during the Parliamentary Standing Committee meeting after it failed to receive any fund from the state government. The civic body’s plan for restoration of natural drains through acquisition of private lands at an investment of around Rs 750 crore has also remained a non-starter due to lack of funds.

However, with BJP set to form a new government in the state and Aparajita being re-elected, people are hopeful the proposed drainage master plan for the city would soon come to fruition.

Sarangi said, “Our government will work on this issue on a priority basis. I will take up the matter to ensure the urban flooding menace is addressed as early as possible.”

Reportedly, just 30 per cent of the desiltation work of all natural drains in the city have been completed so far. BMC sources said only around 22 km stretch of natural storm water channels had been desilted till last Saturday. With June 20 being the deadline, BMC is racing against time to clean the natural drains as well as the internal drains.

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