The Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) on Friday released a list of 63 check dams in the city made during the British era, which the district authorities are planning to revive. The move comes in the wake of an order by the National Green Tribunal on Wednesday asking the administration to identify natural drains and protect them “at all costs”.
Repeated encroachments along the main Badshahpur drain and patchy concreting of natural drains had ensured that storm water mixed with sewage and flooded Gurgaon’s arterial roads, leaving thousands of commuters marooned in the last week of July.
Of the 63 bundhs in the list, only four —Jharsa Bundh, Khol Bundh, Dumduma Canal Bhundh and Gurgaon Canal —have survived.
“The district administration will submit the list to the court and will also draft a plan to revive the remaining bundhs,” a senior Huda official said.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) was hearing a plea on concreting natural drains in the city on August 24 after a resident of DLF Phase 4, Vinod Chopra, filed a petition before the green tribunal.
Many of Gurgaon’s natural stormwater drains are ‘missing’, feared to have been filled up to construct shops, buildings and parking lots, the petition had said.
The petition blamed the Huda and the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) of concreting natural drains and claimed that the process is “ecologically disastrous”.
The NGT norms say, “Drains in the city must be kept clean and obstruction free. No rainwater drain should be covered or used to carry sewage.”
The forest department officials said the city has very few bundhs left and it is difficult to revive them as they are encroached upon. “Only four to five of the traditional bundhs survive in the city,” said MD Sinha, conservator of forest, South Circle, Haryana.
“The next hearing is on September 2. The natural drain used to carry rainwater from low lying areas of sectors 27, 28 and 43, DLF Phase 4 and the neighbouring colonies in Gurgaon. The rainwater seeps into the ground, thus replenishing groundwater level. This cycle is not getting fulfilled because of loss of bundhs,” Chopra said.
He also pointed out that administration concreted the natural drains which resulted in reducing the rainwater carrying capacity of the natural drain. With no place left for the rainwater to flow, it flooded the city. “We had a glimpse of the disaster this monsoon and we can expect it to happen more often,” he said.
“The administration needs to revive the bundhs and stop concreting drains. stop concreting drains. The present scenario has reduced the level of groundwater recharge and is
also in contempt of the court order which states that natural drains in the city have to be protected,” Amit Chaudhery, a naturalist, said.