Odisha HC pulls up CMC over waterlogging in Cuttack City after rains on June 25

Expressing dismay over the state of affairs, the court has directed the personal appearance of the CMC commissioner and city engineer on July 10.
Representative Image.
Representative Image.

CUTTACK: With several parts of the city witnessing severe waterlogging in the recent rains belying the claims of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) of having made comprehensive arrangements to deal with the situation, the Orissa High Court has pulled up the civic body and sought accountability from it.

Expressing dismay over the state-of-affairs, the court has directed personal appearance of the CMC commissioner and city engineer on July 10 in connection with waterlogging in several areas of the city on June 25.

In the order issued on Thursday, the special bench for dealing with PILs on civic problems in Cuttack city also directed the city engineer to file an affidavit relating to the functioning of the pumps on June 25 and whether any person has been held accountable for the situation, which arose on that day.

The bench of Justice SK Sahoo and Justice V Narasingh said, “When the contingency plan was produced before us on the last date (June 21) indicating the locations where the pumps have been placed and who are the operators of those pumps, we observed that the log books are to be maintained relating to the hours of functioning of the pumps with all the attendant details. If the pumps were available in those areas and the operators were also there on 25.06.2024, this court fails to understand how there was recurrence of waterlogging as is evident from the newspaper clippings, which are produced before us today.”

“This court expresses dismay at the lackadaisical manner in which the CMC has responded to the agony of the citizens of the millennium city, due to waterlogging,” the bench further observed.

The court’s reaction came after president of Orissa High Court Bar Association (OHCBA) Bijay Kumar Dash made submissions supported by photographs on the plight of people in several parts of the city following rains on June 25. Dash also submitted a memo relating to the temporary measures required to be undertaken for the monsoon season which mentioned that three 60 HP power pumps are required to be installed near junction points between branch storm water channel (BSWC) and box drain at Kesarpur for discharge of drain water from the BSWC to box drain. It was stated that such pumps were earlier functioning at the location and because of it waterlogging was minimised.

Taking it on record, the bench directed CMC to apprise the court about the feasibility of working out the suggestions given by the president of the OHCBA when the matter is taken up next on July 10.

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The New Indian Express