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Rain relief but future tense
Flooded roads, choked drains worry people

Bhubaneswar, June 30: Around 57mm rainfall in the last 24 hours has brought relief to the people, but waterlogging on major roads and choking of drains has multiplied the woes of the residents here.

In many areas, silt that was earlier removed from drains and kept on roadside flowed back into the drains after today’s rainfall.

A senior official of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, however, claimed that desiltation work was over in more than 60 per cent of the urban areas, while it would be completed in the remaining areas within a week or so.

While the civic body manages the secondary and tertiary drains, drains along the main roads are managed by the public works department.

Poor management of drains has led to waterlogging in areas near police commissioner’s office, Sachivalaya Marg and Jayadev Vihar flyover.

“In urban areas, the drains are primarily maintained by the municipal corporation. We intervene only when the civic body fails to tackle a problem,” said chief engineer (roads) B.C. Pradhan.

Executive engineer of drainage division (Cuttack) Pradip Duria, who looks after renovation of drainage channels 1,2,3 and 4 in Bhubaneswar, said: “Earlier, we had to wait for funds from the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation which almost always used to came late. However, water resources secretary has said we should take up the work on our own.”

In another development, the water resources department has set aside Rs 75 lakh for repair and maintenance of the 10 major drainage channels in the city.

Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation executive engineer R.N. Mallick said: “We are having a daily review of the desiltation work and work on the drains that are likely to cause trouble for local residents is being taken up on priority basis.’’

On removed silt being deposited beside the drains, Mallick said: “We generally wait for two days so that the water gets drained out from the silt, after which lifting and transporting the silt becomes easy for us.”

Regional meteorogical office director S.C. Sahoo said monsoon rainfall had been 60 per cent less than normal this year.

However, he said that things might improve.

The Met office has introduced a new warning system for the occurrence of lightning. “Satellite images received from the Indian Air Force will be released on days when heavy lightning is expected,” said Sahoo.

City residents are happy about the rains but remain worried about the condition of the drains.

“Today’s rainfall has brought relief for us. But the condition of the roads and drains in our surrounding areas makes us believe that the civic body has failed in its duty. At places such as Saheed Nagar where desiltation work has been done more than a week ago, the silt is still lying on the roadside,’’ said Nagen Bihari Panda, a dentist.

Another resident of Saheed Nagar, Ashok Sahu, said: “We do not know when the civic body would remove the silt from the roadsides. The rain has further spread the silt onto the roads, making it difficult for us to even walk.”