Post-flak deluge, comes BMC drainage cover
BHUBANESWAR: The facade of ‘top Smart City’ falling apart, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now resorted to a game of deception. Stung by the outpouring of public anger after the unprecedented flooding of the State Capital, the municipal body on Tuesday announced seven new drainage projects. Interestingly, all of them were finalised at least a month ago and more importantly, have very little bearing on the worst hit areas of the City. The projects to be constructed at an investment of over `9.45 crore cover Ananta Vihar Phase-II in Ward 62, Dumduma Housing Board Colony Phase-IV in Ward 65, Jagannath Vihar Lane III in Ward 24, Bhagabat Sandhan area in Ward 19, Sriya Talkies area in Ward 42, Kelu Charan Mohapatra Park Road and Ahalya Nagar area in Ward 3.
Tender process for these drainage plans will be completed shortly, said BMC Deputy Commissioner Srimanta Mishra. The new drain projects ideally should have been taken up earlier to spare the denizens of the horror and ordeal they experienced on Monday. Because, what fuelled the flood was entirely due to the municipal corporation’s indifference, and not due to absence of new projects. At two places, the major drainage channels of the City were left unattended by the corporation.
In Jayadev Vihar, the bizarrely walled Drain No 4, city’s longest natural drainage channel, was clogged and unable to carry the storm-water load but BMC remained blissfully unaware leaving many parts of the area flooded by sewer and filth. Inundation of Janpath, a key part of Smart City project, has been haunting the City for long and was caused by the main drain choked near Sriya Talkies, yet it was not given a thought. Similarly, parts of Sailashree Vihar and Chandrasekharpur were flooded because the drainage channel near Kelucharan Park was left unlinked leading to blockage of storm water evacuation.
All that BMC was supposed to do was open its eyes to some of the most persistent problems of the Capital but chose to turn a blind eye even as Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena continued his “Bhubaneswar is better than Mumbai” assertion. The municipal corporation has none but itself to blame for the mess. Two years back, the BMC topbrass had insisted that the Drainage Division be brought under its jurisdiction so that coordination for round-the-year works could be maintained.
It was a fair call since the corporation used to bear the brunt for lapses of other agencies. The Government obliged and the Division was placed under BMC’s disposal but, instead of taking up works on mission mode, the corporation was busy tending to other solutions while contracting firms carried out works at their whims and fancies leaving crucial projects delayed and the city cut up everywhere. After the all round public criticism, the BMC on Tuesday decided to divide its area into 12 sub-zones and asked as many senior officers to make personal inspection between 9 am and 11 am everyday and report back.