The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 18 , 2017

Rain pain with no pill in sight

- Underwater & damp spirits

Bhubaneswar, July 17: Residents continue to suffer with several areas in the city reeling from waterlogging. The condition has worsened over the past few days despite the municipal corporation and other agencies claiming full preparedness for tackling such emergencies.

Several areas including Acharya Vihar, Rasulgarh, Cuttack Road, Bomikhal, Baramunda and Jharapada are lying waterlogged for the past few days.

"The past few days have been very frustrating because of waterlogging. We are forced to wade through knee-deep water. We are unable to sleep properly at night. The entire area has become extremely unhygienic with drain water overflowing and mixing with rainwater," said Sarbeswar Behera, a resident of Acharya Vihar.

The weatherman has forecast a low-pressure area developing over the Bay of Bengal, which is likely to turn into a depression within the next 24 hours.

This will lead to rainfall at most of the places across the state. The regional meteorological centre has also predicted that rain will continue till July 22.

Approach roads near flyovers on the NH-16 at Nayapalli, Rasulgarh, Pahala and Hansapal are worst hit by waterlogging with commuters being forced to wade through knee-deep water. "Even a short spell of shower in the city has been enough to bring traffic to a complete halt. The authorities should take immediate measures to pump out water from the approach roads," said Pinaki Dash, a commuter.

A rickshaw puller wades through waist-deep water at Sutahat in Cuttack and (above) a motorist rides through a waterlogged street near Behera Sahi in Bhubaneswar on Monday. Pictures by Badrika Nath Das and Ashwinee Pati

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has deployed around 300 people and 10 backhoe loaders to evacuate rainwater in various areas of the city. The city has been divided into 12 zones and an OAS-rank officer has been assigned to each zone for supervision. BMC officials said 2,000 sand bags had been used to tackle waterlogging, while another 1,000 more were on stand-by.

"We have deployed 10 pumps for evacuation of rainwater. A control room has also been opened with the emergency number 0674-2430038 to receive waterlogging complaints. All the choked points will be identified and immediate measures will be taken by the enforcement branch of the civic body and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority," said municipal corporation Krishan Kumar.

Cars move through a waterlogged street near the Assembly in Bhubaneswar on Monday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

A BMC official said they had asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to improve drainage along the NH-16, but nothing had been done.

"A coordination meeting with all departments concerned, including the works department, Pheo, sewerage project and Cesu, have been convened. Besides, a coordination meeting was also held with the fire services department. The civic body will provide them full support to help clear out waterlogged areas in the city," Kumar added.

In an unprecedented move the BMC today appointed tehsildar of Kanisi in Ganjam district Lalatendu Sahu as the city emergency officer. A BMC official said Sahu had been assigned the task to tackle emergencies related to monsoon.

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