Bhubaneswar, Jan. 30: A 5.6km natural drain that originates in Bhimpur mouza and meets the Gangua nullah on the city outskirts is being threatened by acute pollution and encroachment on its winding journey through a number of colonies.
The drain, popularly known as channel 7, is badly polluted as its water flows between the new airport road that is still under construction and the Capital Hospital Square. This is mainly because of discharge of sewage from the nearby colonies. As it goes further upstream, behind Sishu Bhavan, the width of the channel gets squeezed due to encroachment by upcoming houses in the area.
Many feel it is a misnomer to call the drain a natural channel as it is badly choked by siltation and solid waste thrown at random by people living on its banks.
The pollution is heavy because of sewer water discharge from the colonies. During the rainy season, the channel overflows causing water-logging in areas such as Gourinagar and Brahmeswar Patna.
As it is Gangua nullah, the main waste carrier of the city, is heavily silted. The situation gets worse when the connecting channels of Gangua nullah also get choked as in the case of channel 7. The areas in the lower reaches of these channels suffer the most.
“This theory is applicable to drainage channel 7 and when it rains heavily in areas upstream, colonies such as Gouri Nagar, Kedar Gouri and Brahmeswar Patna become waterlogged,’’ said Malay Mohapatra, councillor of Ward No. 54. Encroachment is a major problem for the channel starting from Garage Square. Encroachment along the channel is rampant in areas such as Gouri Nagar, Kedar Gouri, Radha Krushna Nagar, Garage Chhak and Mahavir Bazar. “Even some people of Kedar Gouri Apartment complex have encroached the channel bed, making the problem of waterlogging acute,’’ added the councillor.
An office-bearer of Kedar Gouri Apartment Owners’ Society admitted that encroachment by some residents had blocked the flow of the natural drain. “When it rains heavily, water gets accumulated in our campus. The residents of a nearby housing complex have also been dumping solid waste into the channel,” he added.
Councillors of Ward No. 30 (Bhimpur), 48 (Gautamnagar), 52 (Nageswar Tangi) and 53 (Old Town-Gyana Nagar to Harachandi Sahi) echoed similar sentiments. “Encroachment has become a problem reducing the width of the natural drain from original 7.6 metres to almost two to three metres,’’ they said.
BMC officials said the responsibility of the channel’s maintenance now lies with the drainage division, Cuttack. They said it was likely to be repaired and renovated with assistance from the centre.
Executive engineer Pradeep Kumar Duria of drainage division, Cuttack said: “We had submitted a proposal for Rs 130.40 crore to the centre, but later it was reduced to Rs 68.44 crore. With the available funds we wanted to take up the renovation of four major channels. At a recent review meeting, which was chaired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik, it was decided that the state government would renovate the drains. For Rs 16.5crore, the renovation of channel 7 should be possible under the new plan.”
An engineer of the water resources department said under the renovation plan, the channel would have concrete walls and a laterite stone bed so that water flow could be managed and groundwater recharge was possible.