| Neelachal Complex, in Narendrapur, where the stagnant, knee-deep water has turned fetid. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Hriday Ranjan Chowdhury, 94, has not been able to go out for his evening stroll since September 24. Reason: the Narendrapur neighbourhood where he lives — Neelachal Complex, Phase II — is waterlogged.
Around 800 people living in the housing estate have to wade through knee-deep water, often risking snake bites. A stench pervades the neighbourhood as the stagnant water has turned fetid.
With no relief in sight, the Phase II residents have scrapped their plan to hold Durga puja. “We have been living in unhygienic conditions for more than a fortnight,” said the secretary of the local welfare association, Ranen Deb.
“We met local parliamentarian Sujan Chakraborty, irrigation minister Subhas Naskar, district magistrate Sanghamitra Ghosh and sub-divisional officer Mohammad Abdul Gani, among others. They promised action, but nothing has emerged,” he added.
Some residents had to shift temporarily to a guest house in the locality. Others took shelter with relatives elsewhere.
“The problem of waterlogging started a year ago, after a road connecting Neelachal and Ramchandrapur blocked the Adi Ganga,” said Utpal Kumar Dhar, who shifted daughter Joyita, seven months’ pregnant, to a relative’s house in Garia a week ago.
“One shudders to think what will happen if someone falls ill and needs to be shifted to a hospital. No ambulance can enter our housing estate now,” Dhar added.
The plot where the housing estate stands was farm land reclaimed for residential use. “The area, being low-lying, is prone to waterlogging. And the situation has been made worse by a series of blockages in the Adi Ganga,” said a resident.
“As the canal is blocked, water from the adjacent areas, including sewage from neighbouring housing estates like Sugam Park, Meruzin and Sherwood Park, accumulates in our complex,” said Deb.
Sub-divisional officer Gani pleaded helplessness. “From the irrigation minister to the district magistrate, everyone knows about the plight of these people. But with the Adi Ganga overflowing, there is no immediate solution in sight.”