Bhubaneswar, Jan. 5: The natural drainage channel no. 3, which originates from Gajapati Nagar near the entrance to Sainik School, gives the appearance of a huge cesspit as it reaches VSS Nagar.
It takes a huge load of waste along its way after crossing the Laxmi Vihar. It is also encroached at several places along its four-kilometre course before falling into the Gangua Nullah in Gadakana.
The channel, which has been shown in the city’s recent comprehensive development plan as a 9-metre wide drain, has virtually shrunk to 9 feet in width because of encroachment.
“Many areas along the stretch of the natural drain have remained encroached for decades. At many places people have also claimed land rights through revenue documents. Evicting them is not an easy task,” said a senior official of the dam safety division.
“The encroachment results in flooding of the areas close to the drain during the rainy season. The channel carries water of a large catchment area consisting of parts of Jaydev Vihar, Gajapati Nagar, Seventh Battalion, Institute of Metals and Minerals Technology, Institute of Physics, Central Text Book Press, Doordarshan Kendra and Doordarshan Colony, Apollo Hospital, Samanta Vihar and Sainik School,’’ he said.
The dam safety division is constructing a bridge over the channel in Laxmi Vihar area at a cost of Rs 8 lakh, as people of the locality frequently complain that during rains it becomes impossible to go to the right side of the channel because of rise in the water level.
“Earlier, we were looking after the drains, but now the work has been transferred to drainage division, Cuttack, which is a part of the water resources department. The drainage division will definitely face many encroachment-related problems during their renovation plan which is scheduled to be started soon,’’ he added.
Local councillor Pramila Parida admitted that encroachment is a problem for the channel.
“But we regularly carry out cleaning operations to ensure that the bed of the drain remains without silt and solid waste dumps along its course,’’ she said.
She added that still there were low-lying areas which faced problems of waterlogging and officials of the engineering section of the BMC have been asked to take care of that.
As the channel enters the VSS Nagar area, its condition worsens as it turns into a sewerage drain with all kinds of garbage dumped into its bed. In areas, the channel has turned into a stomping ground for pigs.
Executive engineer of the drainage division, Cuttack, Pradip Kumar Duria said: “The natural drainage channel has been included in the revival plan to be taken up through the funds available under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).”
“The channel will have concrete dykes and the bed will be made of laterite rock to facilitate ground water recharge,’’ he added
The issue of illegal encroachment along the course of the channel, however, remains to be answered by civic authorities.