Bhubaneswar: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) said Wednesday that it has identified 75 vulnerable waterlogging spots in the state capital. This disclosure came two days after an open storm water drain claimed Monday the life of 15-year-old student Jyoti Prakash Behera.
Speaking on the issue, BMC Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Singh said that the municipal body is trying to rectify the vulnerable points. He, however, blamed construction violations due to which these 75 points have been exposed. He also added that at present it will not be able to repair all the weak points, so BMC will press into service as many pumps required to clear places affected due to waterlogging.
“The main cause behind increase in waterlogging spots is due to violation of construction guidelines, encroachment on drains and the land around those and destruction of recharge points. The entire drainage system will be redesigned and revamped to make it more robust. This will be implemented as quickly as possible so that in future we will be able to deal with heavy rainfall,” Singh informed.
It should however, be stated here that the Odisha government had earlier sanctioned `750 crore for widening, covering, and cleaning of drains in the city. However, the civic body could de-silt only 383km of its 625km of drainage system leading to severe waterlogging this monsoon.
Residents of the ‘smart’ city however, have alleged that such claims are made every year but precious little is done. The Odisha capital has now witnessed seven deaths including those of three minors since 2015 due to open drains.
It should be mentioned here that the government in June this year had issued a mandatory checklist to all ULBs directing them to install signages or cover open drains to avoid mishaps. Locals alleged that the BMC ignored their pleas of constructing a permanent drain at the site where the boy slipped and met his watery grave, Sunday
Singh while admitting that BMC regretted the loss of life, said that measures will be put in place to avoid such accidents in future. “Natural drains cannot be concretised or covered with slabs because of Supreme Court and NGT guidelines. However, such incidents are regretful and will not be repeated. We have decided to expand drainage channels 7 and 10 on a priority basis to prevent waterlogging in New Forest Park and Bairagi Nagar areas,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, the Odisha Assembly House Committee, after taking a serious note of the death of the minor boy decided to hold a meeting with top civic officials of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack over the issue. “The committee has taken serious cognizance of the incident. A decision has been taken to hold discussions with commissioners of both the BMC and Cuttack Municipal Corporation, chief engineers of drainage division and other authorities October 5,” MLA Mohammed Moquim, a member of the panel said.