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Underwater cities

Drains spill rain curse

An hour's downpour inundated arterial roads, crippled commuters and marooned people in low-lying areas of Ranchi, Dhanbad and Bokaro on Sunday, exposing chronic under-preparedness of municipal authorities.

While the rain-o-meter near Birsa Munda Airport read only 12mm, weathermen believe that the northern parts of the capital received around 40-45mm rainfall between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.

The worst affected parts of Ranchi were Lake Road, Hindpiri, Main Road and Ratu Road areas. At Old Commissioner's Compound along Main Road, water from overflowing drains flooded people's homes.

"We were scheduled to go to Calcutta tonight, but the rain has resulted in chaos. Look at our living room...we are wading through dirty drain water. God knows what our civic guardians do round the year," complained homemaker Nibha Choudhary.

Rajesh Pathak, a resident of Madhukam near Ratu Road, echoed Choudhary, saying water had flooded several homes in the neighbourhood. "The drains are clogged. Had they been cleaned, we wouldn't have been ankle-deep in dirty water. We have a pucca house, god help those with makeshift homes in the lower side of Madhukam," he said.

At Daily Market near Lake Road, people had to wade through knee-deep water. "It is not just today's story. Every time it rains heavily, the entire area is flooded. Clogged drains are the culprits. Commuting is a nightmare every monsoon," said Md Roshan Nawaz who had come to the Sunday market.

Several areas of Dhanbad, including Hirapur, DRM Chowk and Saraidhela, were waterlogged after it poured from 3pm to 4pm.

Both pedestrians and motorists were largely inconvenienced near Lindsay Club and DRM Chowk, but the water receded an hour after the rain stopped. But, at Tapovan Colony in Saraidhela, poor drainage turned a curse for commuters. Amit Kumar, a resident of Bhuli, said flooding of roads was a common problem in monsoon because of sustained civic apathy.

In Bokaro, water-logging was a common sight in various neighbourhoods of Chas like Muslim Mohalla, Ramnagar and Bhojpur Colony.

The rain gauge at the IMD office on airport road in Ranchi registered around 12mm. A Met official, requesting anonymity, said they did not have equipment to verify actual rain on Main Road and its surrounding areas. "But, my experience says it must have been around 40-45mm. I myself was stuck near Daily Market, where the water level was 12 inches high," he added.

Ranchi mayor Asha Lakra, who had promised a cleanliness drive for Rath Yatra and Id, conceded that work done was not up to the mark. "Tomorrow (Monday), I will seek explanation from officials concerned," she said.

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