Facing flak for failing to put in place the proper drainage system, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally woken up to carry out a fresh assessment of urban flood vulnerability and mull over formulating a long-term action plan.
The 20 September death of a minor boy, who has been swept away in an overflowing open drain with his cycle near Shatabdi Nagar Bank Colony in the Siripur area, has laid bare the Capital city’s much-vaunted urban planning mechanism. The kid’s death coupled with the flooding of urban areas in last week’s low-pressure rain had triggered a huge public outcry.
The Civic Body, which is fully committed to finding and implementing solutions to the problem, has identified as many as 75 locations vulnerable to flooding during the monsoon and heavy rains in the city (under the jurisdiction of the Corporation), BMC Commissioner, Sanjay Kumar Singh said on Wednesday.
There are a plethora of plans and programmes. Funds are no constraint for cash-rich BMC. What really is required is the effective implementation of the long-term action plan with emphasis to plug the pilfering of funds as it often is reported in the past.
Otherwise, funds, as well as the action plan, will go down the drain if the inglorious track record of yesteryears is anything to go by, city residents pointed out.
“The entire drainage system will be redesigned and revamped to bolster the city’s drainage system to make it robust so that it could deal with heavy rainfall,” Singh said after taking a review meeting with engineers and senior officers of the Civic Body.
The BMC Commissioner urged the engineers to find out the cause of waterlogging in the vulnerable areas in the recent incessant rains and come up with permanent solutions for it.
He said that long-term plans will be prepared which will involve land acquisition for the widening of the drainage channels.
At present, the number of vulnerable locations stands at 27 for several years. The Civic Body will follow the guidelines of the Supreme Court, National Green Tribunal, State Pollution Control Board while revamping the drainage systems in the city, he added.
Since the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed against covering natural drains, appropriate steps will be taken to prevent mishaps, the Commissioner further said.
Covering of drains will result in increased toxicity and health hazards owing to trapped gases, the NGT had said.
The BMC has also decided to expand drainage channels 7 and 10 on a priority basis to prevent water-logging in New Forest Park and Bairagi Nagar areas. It will soon submit a proposal to the State Government for the acquisition of land for expansion of these channels.