Work to cover the 1.8-km-stretch of the drain on the west of Ashiana-Digha Road has picked up pace with a flurry of activities, promising a smooth corridor to commuters this monsoon.
Hundreds of labourers have been deployed to work on the project day and night to construct concrete box-cover over the drain. Starting off with a January 2011 deadline, the project skipped three more deadlines before the June 2013 date was set.
Sources in Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam (BRPNN) Ltd — the executing agency for the project — claimed that the project was in the final stage. “The length of the drain is 1.8km or 1,850m. We have already covered 1,450m,” said Bablu Kumar, a senior project manager of the road division.
He added: “Work is going on at a fast pace for a month or so now. We plan to finish it by end-June.”
The project to cover the drain from Ashiana Mor to the starting point of the Rajeev Nagar drain received administrative approval in January, 2009. The road construction department assigned the Rs 23-crore project to BRPNN. The agency had floated tenders and assigned the job to Baba Hans Pvt. Ltd and J. Das.
Sources said the project was delayed because of encroachment hassles.
“The entire western side of the drain was encroached. Boundary walls of neighbouring buildings had been constructed on the area earmarked for widening the drain. We requested the district administration several times to remove the encroachments. But nothing was done and this led to the delay,” said Bablu.
He added: “Finally, we spoke to the residents in the area and convinced them to remove the encroachments.”
The project, however, has opened a can of worms for the citizens with dusty roads and blockages at Ashiana Mor.
“Mounds of mud taken out of the drain accumulate by the road. When these dry, the wind blows them in every direction. The mounds also lead to traffic congestion,” said Ram Nabari Sector 2 resident Abhinav Kumar.
Another civic problem that residents have to encounter is dysfunctional drainage in the area. The sewage water from all neighbouring areas is discharged in the Ashiana-Rajiv Nagar drain, which, in turn, is supposed to empty out in an alternative service canal.
But no such canal has been constructed yet. As a result, the drainage network of the area is frequently choked.
Ashiana Nagar resident Pratyush Kumar said: “The alternative drain has not been constructed yet. As a result, all the internal drains are blocked. This leads to stagnant dirty water and a rise in the number of mosquitoes and flies.”
The problems could, however, be short-lived. At present, the Ashiana-Digha Road is a 7-m-wide two-way single-lane thoroughfare. Once the drain is covered, the stretch from Ashiana Mor to Rajeev Nagar would be 14-m-wide and double-lane, easing traffic movement in the area.