Clusters of brick-walled huts that have mushroomed along Bagjola canal atop concrete and bamboo stilts sunk on the bed have blocked the natural gradient of the channel.
Several parts of New Town are getting flooded after a brief spell of rain as the water pumped out by the stormwater drainage pumping stations is not flowing out through the canal at the pace that is required to keep these areas dry, a senior engineer of the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) said.
The situation is similar along the banks of the Kestopur canal where settlers have built homes and shops.
The Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, which provides civic services to places along the VIP Road, including Teghoria, Baguiati, Lake Town and parts of Rajarhat, and the New Town authorities have stormwater drainage stations that pump out water into these canals.
According to officials of both these civic bodies, despite pumping out water into the canals the flow of water is extremely slow as the natural gradient of both these canals has been severely affected by these structures.
The problem has been compounded by the rampant dumping of garbage into the canals, the officials added.
Portions of both the Bagjola and Kestopur canals have been dredged but on Friday several blocks of New Town got flooded after rain.
Officials from the BMC, NKDA and at least three police stations have conducted a survey of these structures.
The irrigation department officials, too, had conducted a survey prior to the dredging of the canals. “We identified the places where these hutments have come up. These have to be removed urgently or else the problem will remain,” said an official.
Krishna Chakraborty, the chairperson of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation’s board of administrators, said civic teams had spotted such structures in many places. “We cannot carry out an eviction drive overnight. A rehabilitation process must be initiated.”
NKDA chairman Debashis Sen said they too have a report of such encroachments. “As of now, we are trying to ensure that all gully pits are kept free from garbage or other materials. We are trying to draw up a plan where the problem of encroachments can be resolved. It will take multiple agencies to implement it.”