BHUBANESWAR: At a time when civic authorities are bracing up to live upto the rank Bhubaneswar achieved in the Smart City race, citizens are face to face with a major issue of open manholes. These open pits, over a period of time, act as a hospitable shelter for scavengers and mosquitoes. In some areas, these uncovered trenches act as garbage dumping pits.
A case in point is uncovered manholes in Forest Park area, which is considered to be one of the swanky localities in the City. Open manholes have become common place on internal roads in the area leading to sanitation hazards and danger for commuters.
Despite a surge in accident toll in the area due to open manholes, little has been done by the authorities to take corrective action. Unmarked open drains and manholes have become a major worry for pedestrians and two-wheeler riders.
Situation worsens once it starts raining. Thanks to discharge of domestic liquid waste into storm water drains, accidents become inevitable. “Due to water logging, the open manholes cannot be detected and the unsuspecting pedestrians fall into them,” said Parikshit Mohanty, a local.
It may be recalled that a minor girl was swept away in an open drain last year in Unit VIII area. But, the BMC remains nonchalant about the issue.
Officials often leave the manholes partly open to allow rain water to recede to prevent water logging. This is despite the fact that opening manholes for purposes other than sewerage work are unauthorised. “Whenever a road expansion or maintenance work is undertaken in an area, the manhole covers are damaged first, while the actual construction work starts at the authority or contractors’ freewill,” Mohanty added.
The workers engaged in the road construction work neither provide a barricade to demarcate a precarious zone nor erect signage to indicate open manholes in the area. This negligence and absolute lack of concern on the part of the BMC have turned the open manholes into virtual death traps. The menace of open manholes in low-lying or nondescript areas of the Capital can be easily assessed.
When contacted, a senior BMC official said due to the code of conduct for a bypoll in the Corporation, the work has not progressed. Immediate measures will be taken to cover the open manholes appropriately and resume road expansion work at the earliest, he added.