| A boy tries to pick up his bicycle on a waterlogged stretch of Machhli Gali in Patna on Wednesday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Several localities in the city resembled the waterways of Venice on Wednesday, more than 24 hours after the rain stopped and exposed the civic body’s dismal drainage system and underpreparedness for monsoon.
Most localities such as Rajputana Colony, Machhli Gali, Yarpur and Patel Nagar remained flooded even as the civic commissioner teetered on the brink of denial.
On paper, Patna Municipal Corporation spent around Rs 1 crore in de-silting drains and maintenance work related to the drainage system this year.
“Is there any drainage system in the capital at all? Why has the PMC not been able to flush out the rainwater in our area since Tuesday? Open manholes are another concern. Just putting a bamboo stick in open manholes is not enough. On Monday, a child fell into an open manhole but was saved just in time. Today, the wheel of a four-wheeler got stuck in a manhole. The PMC, it seems, is waiting for a tragedy to happen,” said Gopal Prasad, a resident of Rajputana Nagar.
Babita Devi, another resident of the area, said: “I have decided not to vote in the next election. Ward councillors make big promises but they fail to deliver.”
Asked about the PMC’s failure to flush out Tuesday’s rainwater, PMC commissioner Kuldeep Narayan said: “The season’s highest rainfall on Monday night and Tuesday morning made our task difficult. But as far as I know, water has been flushed out from most localities barring a few. I have no idea whether the localities you are talking about are still under water or not. I will take necessary steps in this regard since you say so.” He also claimed that the PMC took prompt action against complaints.
His claim, however, soon fell flat when The Telegraph tried contacting the PMC control room. The first phone number (3261373) was found switched off. The reporter got through to the second (2911135) and asked how many complaints related to waterlogging had been registered from Rajputana Nagar, Yarpur and Machhli Gali. The PMC official sought time to reply but soon disconnected the call. Thereafter, four attempts to call on that number evoked an “unreachable” response. The third number (2220063) does not exist.
Complaints from residents, however, continued to flow in. In Patna City, areas around Station Road, Mangal Talab and Dundi Bazaar remained inundated throughout the day with residents clueless as to why the civic body could not flush it out.
Sunita Devi, a resident of Machhli Gali, said her area was still waterlogged. “The Mithapur sump house is supposed to flush out rain water from our locality. But I have not seen PMC officials carrying out any maintenance work on that sump house this year. That is probably the reason for our misery.”
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