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Nightmare on Ashiana-Digha road to prolong
- Delayed project to cover canal beside street hits monsoon clean-up work hurdle

The Ashiana-Digha road will continue to annoy drivers this monsoon as a project to build concrete box covers over the 1.85-km drain beside it would be further delayed.

The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has asked Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Limited (BRPNNL), the executing agency for the project, to stop construction work by April 30. The project has already missed three deadlines.

In a letter dated April 15, Patna municipal commissioner Kuldip Narayan wrote to the BRPNNL chairman saying: “In order to ensure free flow of waste water to Kurji sump house, we would be doing drain cleaning work before monsoon. The executive officer and executive engineer of the area concerned have informed us that work would not be carried out properly due to the ongoing construction work on the Ashiana-Digha canal. Thus, it is requested that you to stop the work by April 30.”

BRPNNL sources said the main reason behind delay in project execution was encroachment on the drain by houses abutting it.

“There is a Patna High Court advocate who is not allowing us to demolish the front wall of his house, built by encroaching on the canal. We will report this to the road construction department’s New Capital division for further action. We expect to complete rest of the work by April 30,” said a senior BRPNNL official. He claims work on just 60m of the drain remains.

The Ashiana-Digha road is a two-way road that is 7m wide. Once the drain beside it is covered, the stretch from Ashiana Mor to Rajeev Nagar drain would become 14m wide. Work was scheduled for completion by January 2011, but was extended till March 31, 2012 and then till June 30, 2013.

The under-construction drain has turned into a commuters’ nightmare because of potholes, big puddles and mud spilled across the road. “I’ve stopped using this road because of potholes and dust. It has been nearly five years since work began and it is still not over. Construction work was carried out in a haphazard and unplanned manner leading to frequent traffic snarls,” said Prakash Kumar, a Ram Nagari Sector 2 resident.

Another fallout of the ongoing work is draining out of wastewater from nearby houses. Sewage from all internal drains and stormwater is discharged into the Ashiana-Digha drain. All such internal drains were supposed to be discharged into an alternative service canal, but no such canal has been dug, leading to overflowing.