Bhubaneswar, Oct. 20: Phailin has badly damaged the city’s drainage channels. Civic polls are also knocking the door, but who owns the drains is the question doing rounds in Kharavela Nagar and Chintamaniswar.
Two drainage channels, which were badly damaged and choked with silt and garbage in the wake of the gale, are yet to be repaired here as the authorities are confused as to who should do the job.
While the walls of channel No. 5 have been damaged at many places in Kharavela Nagar, the entire 500-metre-long stretch of Jali Gali area of channel No.6 has been heavily silted in Chintamaniswar.
The channels have also become a threat to commuters and pedestrians as many iron mesh caps on these have been washed away or stolen at various places.
With six iron mesh covers either washed away or stolen, the entire Jali Gali road has become unsafe. The chances of people falling into the channel and getting washed away cannot be ruled out.
In 2008, a youth had died as he was washed away after falling into a channel at Jali Gali following floods.
Councillor of ward No. 49 Amaresh Jena said: “The silt in the two underground channels below Jail Gali has to be removed immediately. Otherwise, the nearby roads will be flooded at any time.”
He said that the civic body should take immediate steps to repair the channels at Jali Gali.
A local resident alleged that the damage to the two channels below the road in the area was also not being monitored properly and as such the channels might collapse at any moment.
Plastic plates, packaging materials, solid waste, along with sand deposits, have choked the channels at Jalil Gali as regular cleaning and desiltation was never done in the area, alleged another local resident.
The situation has worsened after Phailin as the city health office, which works under the aegis of the municipal corporation, has not taken any initiative to clear the stretch.
Municipal commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra said: “We are providing all help to clear the blockage in all the small drains in the city. But the drainage channels are managed by the water resources department and we do not have any expertise to manage these. Still, we will clear the stretch at Chintamaniswar for people’s safety.”
Water resources department secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra told The Telegraph: “We are only looking after the drainage channels where we have constructed concrete retaining walls and beds under the funds provided by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. The other portions, where we have not constructed the walls and the bed, are not under our control.”
Councillor of ward No. 43 Gurucharan Sahu said: “We experienced flood during the Phailin at more than three places in Kharavela Nagar as the retaining wall of the drainage channel No. 5 was broken.”
Stating that there was confusion whether the maintenance of the drainage channels was done by the municipal corporation or the drainage division, Sahu said the retaining walls of the channels should be repaired and beds desilted before the civic poll notifications.
The electoral roll preparation, which was to be finished by the end of October, has been extended up to November 15.
But, as the corporation’s council will be dissolved on December 9, the new council formation process has to be put on fast track.
“The poll notification is likely to be made during the third week of November after the publication of the final electoral roll. So if the reconstruction is not done now, it will not be possible to complete this job after the poll notification,” said another councillor.