| A bulldozer removes soil and debris dumped on the natural drainage channel No. 4 in Bhubaneswar on Monday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, July 21: In a joint enforcement drive, the blockage on natural drainage channel No. 4 near Ekamrakanan was removed today much to the relief of visitors, civic and development authorities.
The obstruction on the drainage channel has led to flooding near the Ekamrakanan, which is also part of the Regional Plant Resource Centre (RPRC).
The flooding that followed three consecutive days of rain had brought activities to a halt at the park and RPRC.
While the park remained out of bound for morning and evening walkers as well as tourists, research activities at the RPRC’s garden came to a halt for the last three days.
The drive to clear the channel started this morning and went on till the evening.
Two excavators were deployed to remove soil and debris that were used to fill up the course of the drainage channel by the landowner.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation conducted the enforcement drive under the Odisha Municipal Corporation Act, 2003.
According to Section 407 of the Act, a person or agency blocking a natural drainage channel, road, water body or public place can be dealt with sternly to make it free from obstruction. The provision can also be enforced without any prior notice.
Assistant commissioner (enforcement, recovery and land) Sumita Behera said: “The landowner concerned had also blocked the flow of the natural drainage channel last year and we had removed it. But again the encroachment came up. We were forced to stop him from doing that as the water body is a natural drainage originating from the Bharatpur reserve forests.’’
RPRC authorities had also convened a meeting last week as they apprehended flood-like situation near the entrance of the Ekamrakanan. On July 17, The Telegraph had warned that if the obstruction from the bed of the drainage channel was not removed, it might cause flooding. Incessant rain for the last three days caused severe waterlogging, prompting the civic authorities to take immediate action.
Sudarshan Sahu, husband of landowner Pratimarani Sahu, however, claimed that there was no drainage channel at the site when they bought the land in 2006-07.
“In the comprehensive development plan (CDP) of the development authority there was no mention of the drainage channel when we acquired the land,’’ he said.
Enforcement officer of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA)Debaprasad Dash said the obstruction to the natural drainage channel also invokes Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to remove nuisance.
In another development, the BDA has defined territorial limits of the drainage channel No. 4 near the Ekamrakanan gate and sent it to the state government for gazette notification.
During execution of the revised comprehensive plan (CDP) prepared in 2010 by IIT Kharagpur, nearly 200 metres of the drainage channel was found missing though it existed in the old CDP of the BDA during early nineties. Sources said after rectifying the flaws by redefining the territorial limits of the drainage channel, the civic and development authority today conducted the eviction drive.