Litchi leaves dumped near Albert Ekka Chowk last Sunday. (Hardeep Singh)
If summer is bad, monsoon will be worse. Not for meteorological reasons, but manual ones.
Like all years, Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) is not prepared for the impending deluge, evident from the state of drains that are neither repaired nor dredged and desilted for water to flow out.
“The south-west monsoon has reached sub-Himalayan Bengal and is likely to enter Jharkhand by the end of next week,” said A. Wadood, head of agro-physics and meteorology department at Birsa Agriculture University, Kanke.
But even now, clogged drains and open manholes spewing dirty water on roads are the order of the day. Though RMC officials claimed their partner agency — A2Z Waste Management Ltd — engaged labourers to clean drains, residents begged to differ.
“We have been facing this problem for the several years. This year too, we do not expect much difference in the situation,” said Ranchi resident Rajeev Ranjan Mishra. Drainage facilities do exist near his locality — Ranchi Lake area. But only on paper.
“Most drains in our locality are choked. We have to negotiate knee-deep water every monsoon. The situation won’t be different this year. I have not seen any RMC worker cleaning the drains,” rued Mishra.
The RMC, on the other hand, blamed “filthy habits” of residents.
“We have directed A2Z Waste Management Ltd to clean up the drains on a war footing. But the habit of residents to dump solid wastes in drains creates hurdles in their work,” said RMC public relations officer Naresh Sinha.
Sinha added the bumper litchi crop this year added to the civic body’s woes.
“Vendors throw litchi leaves in the drains,” he said.
The civic body is further plagued by the lack of wide drains in many areas. The much-awaited centralised drainage and sewerage system under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is yet to happen.
The city is also dreading mosquito menace once rain sets in. RMC officials said the fogging machines — two — were pressed into service during every monsoon, but residents complained these hardly reached their localities.
Recently, a pre-monsoon rainfall in the capital was enough to flood streets. As drains were choked with solid wastes, rainwater didn’t recede. Commuters on Main Road, Ratu Road, Kanta Toli Chowk and others waded through knee-deep muck.