Though there have been no signs of rain that people have been waiting to get relief from the searing heat, the civic condition in the city is so pathetic that even a brief shower leaves most city areas inundated.
Call it lack of preparedness by the municipal corporation or lack of planning by the civic body, the city has been seeing the problem of waterlogging over the past many years. And the way things are, there seems no immediate relief.
Though the rains this June and July have been meagre as compared to the last year, if it rains, people would face a monumental task as most of the localities get waterlogged.
Be it ordinary areas or posh localities, almost every area is badly affected. Though the municipal corporation claims it has started de-silting the drains to prevent waterlogging, till recently it had not been done.
A brief spell of rain recently left the city flooded. The city has seen only a couple of rains this season but that was enough to expose the tall claims by the civic body.
Each time deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal visits Amritsar, he convenes meetings of officials and stresses that Amritsar is always a priority area.
However, the city suffers from waterlogging. Not only this, the pathetic civic condition brings a bad name to the city as thousands of tourists visit it.
As far as the MC is concerned, it had not undertaken the desilting of sewers till a few days ago. This was also criticised by the Congress. The MC is on its way to having a strong sewerage system but repeated delays in the project have only added to the misery on roads.
NO LESSONS LEARNT
The city of Amritsar seems least prepared to handle heavy rains. From slum to posh, all areas are inundated whenever there is even a brief shower. Be it Lawrence Road, Ranjit Avenue, Green Avenue, Basant Avenue, MM Malviya Road, Cooper Road, Majitha Road, parts of walled city, bus stand area, Putlighar area, Batala Road and Town Hall, they are all badly affected during rains.
The much-hyped elevated road that connects the national highway with the Bhandari bridge is another example of the MC’s ill-preparedness. Each year when it rains, there is not only waterlogging on the elevated road but it also sees numerous accidents due to this.
There have been many accidents in the past few years on this stretch due to the accumulation of water but unfortunately, the MC as well as the district administration have failed to address the issue, putting commuters’ life at risk.
The civic body, along with the administration, can talk big of the preparedness but when it comes to reality, no lessons have been learnt.
MC OFFICE GETS FLOODED TOO
What to expect from the municipal corporation when it has miserably failed to address the problem of waterlogging even on its own premises. A spell of rain and the entire area around the MC building turns into a swimming area.
The corporation has faced tremendous criticism on account of this but seems to be a mute spectator. Even the employees are seen struggling with their vehicles and battling their way into their respective blocks in the MC building.
MAYOR CLAIMS PREPAREDNESS
Admitting that waterlogging is one issue that Amritsar faces every year, mayor Bakshi Ram Arora said, “I admit that during rains the city faces a lot of hassles, but things are improving. We are stressing that the accumulated water in the streets and roads is cleared at the earliest so that the people and traffic can move smoothly.”
On de-silting of sewers, the mayor said, “At present, the desilting of sewers is in full swing. We have deployed machines as well as manpower to continue with the process. The aim is to reduce the level of waterlogging. I don’t say that water won’t stand on roads but our intent is to minimise the damage.”
LESS RAIN THIS YEAR
The rains in Amritsar have been far less this year than in the past. In June and July 2013, the city witnessed a total of 513 mm rain. However, in the current year, Amritsar has witnessed just 24 mm rain till date.
Though the expected rain this year is less in the region, looking at the track record, the city is simply not rain ready.