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HC raps state for flushout deadline lapse

Patna High Court on Friday took strong exception to the state government’s failure in flushing out the accumulated water from the waterlogged areas.

On August 20, the government had assured the court that it would rid the city of waterlogging in the next 48 hours, which ended on Friday.

Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh had given the assurance to the bench of high court comprising Justice V.N. Sinha and Justice P.K. Jha on August 20.

On Friday, urban development and housing department secretary Sandeep Poundrik and Patna municipal commissioner Kuldip Narayan were present in the court forwarding their pleas to the bench as to why water from some areas could not be removed despite assurance to the court.

At one point of time, when the state counsel told the court that water had been drained out from most of the areas of Patna, Justice Sinha retorted saying: “Has water gone from all the areas?”

On this, the members of the bar, who had mentioned the matter in the court earlier, said “no” in chorus.

The bar then apprised the court that several areas were still submerged in water, which include Ashok Nagar (Kankerbagh), Police Colony (Anisabad), Jagat Narayan Road, Sandalpur, Alka Colony, Kalyani Colony, Vashistha Colony, Panchwati Colony, Shivaji Colony (Yarpur) and Ramnagar (Jakkanpur).

The bench was also shown pictures taken by the lawyers present in the courtroom.

The court had earlier taken the matter suo motu as the members of the Bar apprised the court of severe waterlogging in the city because of heavy rainfall.

When the officials present told the court that these colonies are unplanned, Justice Sinha shot back saying: “But it is you who have allowed growing these unplanned colonies. You ought to have left these colonies to the nagar parishad only and not incorporate them into the municipal corporation.”

The officials pleaded that water could not be removed from the areas as drains were clogged because of garbage and rampant encroachment over them.

The officials present informed the court that 54 pumps had been put to service to flush out the water from different localities of the city.

Urban development and housing department secretary Sandeep Poundrik informed the court that across the New Bypass, water flows into river Punpun and the river is in spate so they could not flush out water in Punpun.

Similarly, water is released in the Ganga from areas falling within the New Bypass and Ganga is flowing only marginally below the danger level. “So releasing water into the river is a problem,” they said.

On this, Justice Gopal Prasad said: “So you are saying that this side is Ganga and the other side is Punpun. So I can’t save you. This is not acceptable and you have to sort out the problem.”

He added: “This question is not of today. There will be waterlogging next year and the same problem will persist.”

The bench directed the state government to remove water from all areas within the New Bypass and the Ganga by August 25 and fixed the next date of hearing on August 26.