| A biker and his pillion rider negotiate a waterlogged road at Mithanpura in Muzaffarpur on Tuesday. Picture by Gopi Raman |
Incessant downpour over the past two days has inundated several parts of the town, affecting business, transport and education, and revealing the inability of the municipal corporation to deliver services to citizens.
Accumulation of water and overflowing drains have forced residents of upscale areas like Club Road, Kedarnath Road, Mithanpura, Saidpur, Bank Road and Sadar Hospital Road to remain at home. “Water flowed into a number of homes in our locality through drain pipes,” said Vikas Kumar, a resident of Islampur.
Shops at Motijheel, Suttapatti and Kalyani — the main business areas of the town — have been forced to down their shutters with overflowing drain water entering the outlets. “Businessmen at Motijheel, Kalyani, Kedarnath, Diwan Road and Club Road have been forced to shut shops because of accumulation of water. This is a result of the neglect of the corporation,” said Rana Karmakar, a shopkeeper at Kalyani.
The worst affected area is Motijheel Market, where uneven roads have complicated problems. A shopkeeper said: “Last year, Ircon (a Union government-owned infrastructure company) constructed a flyover in the area. They had dug up the roads but did not repair them. Also, we had requested the company to construct a proper drainage system in the area but they did not listen to us.”
Students have also not been able to attend classes in some schools and colleges because of stagnant water. Most students of Mahant Darshan Das Mahila College at Mithanpura have stayed away for the past two days because of waterlogged streets around the institution.
College principal Neelam Singh said: “I sent a letter to municipal commissioner Amarnath Mishra requesting the civic body to drain out the accumulated water from around the college. A few students suffered injuries when they fell on the waterlogged streets.”
MLA Suresh Sharma has also blamed the corporation for not cleaning the drains and repairing the roads before the monsoon. “I requested mayor Varsha Singh and Muzaffarpur Municipal Corporation commissioner Mishra to clean the drains and repair the road before the rains. But my appeals fell on deaf ears,” he said, adding that Rs 60 crore allotted by the state government for repairing the drainage system had been diverted to road construction.
The corporation, however, has directed the blame at the citizens. “People are careless. They use polythene bags and dump them in drains,” said municipal commissioner Mishra. “As a result, the drains get choked and it is difficult for rainwater to flow out.”
Some citizens are suggesting means to prevent such problems. Harendra Kumar, a former student leader, said: “The town needs needed cemented drains with proper outlets. Construction of pump houses to drain out water is also essential.”