Garbage clogs a drain near Raj Bhavan along Ratu Road (Hardeep Singh)
Where there is drain, there is distress — a city that knows it, must prepare to face it, because its civic guardians couldn’t care less.
A delayed monsoon gave Ranchi ample scope to roll up its sleeves and get to the bottom of the problem that leaves drains clogged with sewage and roads waterlogged every rainy season, but the authorities failed to cash in on time. Result: some 10 lakh unfortunate denizens of the capital will be left to deal with another season of muck, squelch and stink with the wet days barely 48 hours away.
The worst affected will be those who live in or commute through Purani Ranchi, Islam Nagar, Azad Nagar, Hindpiri, Indrapuri, Kantatoli, Lalpur, Karbala Chowk, HB Road and Ratu Road. These peril pockets were left filthy or flooded during moderate rainfall in the past two days. So, one can well imagine what might happen if there is a downpour.
“The last time drains in our area were cleaned was perhaps five months ago. They are once again choking on garbage. If not cleaned before monsoon hits the state, rainwater will spill onto the roads and make life hell for us,” said Md Suleman Khan, who owns a vehicle repairing workshop near Karbala Chowk.
Pre-monsoon showers had lashed the city on Saturday and Sunday evenings, prompting the rain meter to sprint to 16.5mm in 48 hours. Monday too saw cloud cover since morning. Weathermen have predicted monsoon greetings by June 20 and have reasons to believe that rainfall will be normal this year. And under the present circumstances, many low-lying areas such as Azad Nagar, Islam Nagar, Hindpiri, Indrapuri, Kantatoli, Tharpakhna and Lohrakocha will grapple with waterlogging after the first few monsoon showers.
“That was exactly the case last year. The rain god was generous, the roads were waterlogged and our lives miserable. This time will be no different I guess,” said Kamalendu Bose, a resident of Tharpakhna.
Worries are similar — arguably more alarming — for people in Lohrakocha. “Our locality always lacked a proper drainage system. Let alone roads, our homes will be flooded once the monsoon arrives,” said resident Dilip Oraon.
Public relations officer of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) Naresh Sinha shrugged responsibility, saying the job of cleaning drains had been outsourced to A2Z Waste Management Private Limited.
Arun Kumar Singh, general manager (Ranchi) of A2Z, claimed that a cleaning drive had been undertaken two months ago. “But, it is true that the drains are once again filled up with garbage. We can maintain drains only if residents change their obnoxious habit of discarding domestic waste into drains instead of dustbins,” he pointed out.
Singh maintained that they had engaged around 50 men to unclog drains all over again. “If need be, we will engage extra workforce and clean drains within a week. However, some are located in very congested pockets, where our workers find it difficult to carry out the job,” he said.
So, there’s a promise of sorts to spare the capital its monsoon woes. The rest can be left to imagination.
How do you plan to negotiate squelchy Ranchi roads?