| The illegally-constructed wall of a community hall in ward No. 5 encroaches upon a drainage outlet. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, Dec. 7: Unauthorised construction of the wall of a community hall in ward No. 5 has sparked fear of floods in nearby localities. The wall encroaches upon a drainage outlet.
The outlet falls near Gada Gopinath Prasad Colony. Officials of the enforcement wing of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the land section have conducted several surveys in the area and found that portions of the drain have been encroached upon by the construction. This may hinder the flow of water. And if the retaining wall collapses during heavy rains, it might cause floods in the area and other nearby colonies.
Officials of the enforcement wing have planned to take stringent action against those responsible for building this wall.
“The residents of Bhagabat Sandhan Colony in ward No. 5 are responsible for building this wall. People from nearby localities informed us about the illegal construction. We conducted a spot inquiry and found that there is indeed a violation of the land use pattern. Residents encroached on the drain outlet to strengthen the nearby community hall,” said a senior official of the recovery and enforcement wing.
Of late, encroachment on any drainage outlet by residents, individual house owners or real-estate developers has become a serious offence as they cause water logging and flooding.
The drainage outlet in ward No. 5 was a branch of Daya West Canal. It was built to carry extra water during monsoon when the main canal is overloaded. Deputy municipal commissioner of BMC Krushna Prasad Pati said: “People building illegal structures that threaten the flow of water will be dealt with firmly. I will discuss the matter with the recovery and enforcement wing and take action according to provisions of the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003.”
Residents of Bhagabat Sandhan Colony said the land belonged to them and the civic authorities had no right to stop them from building a community hall.
However, a senior corporation official said: “The real-estate developer of the colony had built a retaining wall on the boundary of the drain. But now the residents have gone a step further and are trying to reclaim more land from the drain.” President of the residents’ welfare association of the Bhagabat Sandhan Colony, Sisir Mohan Mishra, refused to comment on the matter.
City-based urban management practitioner Piyush Ranjan Rout said: “Before pointing a finger at others, the authorities must themselves refrain from encroaching on drainage outlets. A few yards away from Bhagabat Sandhan Colony, the public works department is building two roads on either side of the Daya West Canal, thereby narrowing it down considerably. The situation is getting worse with the government agencies not taking up the issues with the kind of seriousness they deserve.”
“We should set examples through authoritative action. Nobody has any right to encroach upon or reduce the size of water bodies, such as canals, ponds or lakes, in and around the city,” Rout said.