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Administration, residents both to blame for water clogging

Rules and regulations can force the civic body staff to work, but not to do “good” work. Moreover, the reigning political parties always go for new projects, to add to their portfolio for the next elections, but never care to improve the infrastructure developed in the past.

chandigarh Updated: Jul 13, 2015 11:01 IST
Hindustan Times
monsoons,water clogging,Chandigarh

Politicos, officials, citizens should adopt a holistic view
Rules and regulations can force the civic body staff to work, but not to do “good” work. Moreover, the reigning political parties always go for new projects, to add to their portfolio for the next elections, but never care to improve the infrastructure developed in the past. Residents, too, consider that only keeping their houses clean is their responsibility, and litter their surroundings, which leads to choking of drains. Why not introduce inter-sector competitions to award sectors that use the funds in the most efficient manner and develop the best infrastructure. In this way, people will keep a check on activities of the civic body.
Amrinder Singh Brar, Chandigarh

Polythene bags choking drains
Monsoon is not a mess; it is a blessing of the God to mankind. It is because of human activities that it turns into a mess. Chandigarh is known as the City Beautiful, but over the years, it has lost its charm, with waterlogging becoming a norm every monsoon. Both residents and the municipal corporation (MC) are responsible for this. Councillors and MC officials visit various cities in the name of study tours, but they still lack insight to control this problem. For example, the roadside has been covered with interlocking tiles due to which water gets accumulated on roads. The reckless use and improper disposal of polythene bags by residents is also adding to the woes. The MC has developed no uniform policy to manage this.
Susheel Kashyap, via email

Put in place a ‘war room’ well in advance
Of late, monsoon-related blues have become the bane of all cities in the country, thanks to the lackadaisical attitude adopted by the municipal authorities. Not giving two hoots to the inconvenience caused to the citizens year after year, the authorities keep shelving all proposed plans to tackle the monsoon menace. Even when implemented, the output is half-hearted and futile. The City Beautiful that has the distinction of being the only fully-planned city ought to take a lead in dealing with the monsoon mess. A “war room” ought to be operationalised at least three months prior to the anticipated date of the onset of monsoon, with inclusion of senior technocrats and roping in of reputed private agencies having expertise in the field. Drains and rivulets should be cleaned to ensure an easy flow of rainwater through them along with devising means and ways for instantaneous clearing of waterlogged areas by diverting the flow to appropriate places on the vicinity of the tricity.
Hemant Kumar, Ambala City

Contractors carry out substandard work
Civic bodies are constituted for the personal gains of bureaucrats and politicians, not for public welfare. Work is always outsourced, leading to waste of public funds, while providing substandard infrastructure.
Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

MC staff should closely supervise work carried out by contractors
The MC employees are guilty of dereliction of duty. They are only interested in perks, privileges, free parking passes, foreign trips and national study tours. To prevent waterlogging, the blocked drains should have been cleared by mid-June, but the work was delayed. Roads are badly designed, leaving no scope for a natural outflow of rainwater. At the rotaries, there is no system for drainage of stagnated water. Due to unpreparedness, at many places rainwater finds its way into sewers, resulting in backflow and raising fear of outbreak of many diseases. The municipal staff should be working and supervising the work on the field, saying a goodbye to the comfort of their air-conditioned rooms.
Colonel SK Aggarwal (retired), Panchkula

Fix responsibility of officials
Chandigarh is never ready for monsoons. Waterlogging is a blot on the name of the City Beautiful. It is all due to the inefficiency of the civic body. Nothing is done in advance to ensure convenience to residents. There should be a proper check on those cleaning the road gullies and those overseeing the work. Those found adopting lackadaisical attitude should be pulled up. Responsibility should be fixed by allocating areas in the city to specific officials for direct supervision. Despite having funds in crores of rupees, work is not done properly. Also, contractors found using substandard material should be penalised.
Suman Kansal, Panchkula

MC alone not responsible for waterlogging
Although, there might be some lack of foresight and planning on the part of MC authorities in tackling the problem of waterlogging during rains, residents are no less responsible for this mess. Residents throw garbage on the roads, which finds its way into stormwater drains. Road gullies remain covered with polythene bags that choke the drains. Also, sometimes there is a heavy downpour, which can put pressure on any drainage system. Instead of always criticising the officials, we should give concrete suggestions and cooperate with them.
TR Goyal, Chandigarh

MC staff must certify that work was done in their presence
Rains follow a set pattern on the basis of wind direction. Still, the story remains the same every year. This is happening under the nose of public health engineers, who are responsible to design an efficient system, as per the population load and increased stormwater disposal requirement. The onus for this technical failure lies on senior officials, who lack vision. Also, to make the existing system work properly, micro-level planning is needed. The departments concerned should start the exercise in January and get the road gullies cleaned by May-end. Dried tree leaves, too, choke the gullies and drains. These should be removed regularly. Residents, too, should not dispose of polythene bags, garbage and debris near gullies. To ensure cleaning of stormwater drains, the administration may follow the railway or power board model, wherein officials at the bottom of the hierarchy certify to their higher-ups that the work was carried out in their presence. Also, councillors should closely monitor works being carried out in their respective wards.
Manjinder Pal Singh, SAS Nagar

Keep a check on sanitation workers
Sanitation workers can be seen disposing of garbage on the roadside, leading to chocking of road gullies and stormwater drains. MC officials must check this practice. Stricter penalties will deter the sanitation workers from adopting such an attitude, thereby preventing water accumulation. If the MC fails to do its job, residents must click pictures of erring workers and forward these to the officials concerned.
Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh

Residents must demand their right
With the onset of monsoon, mercury levels have surely gone down. This respite, however, is accompanied by the problem of waterlogged roads. We can either just celebrate the relief from sultry weather or like a responsible citizen demand our right to have a proper drainage system in the city. It is the moral obligation of the municipal corporation to ensure that the same story is not repeated every year.
Mannat Sarao, Ambala City

Pull up officials for procrastination
Monsoon comes every year, but the authorities wake up only when the road gullies get blocked and water accumulates on roads in many parts of the city. Due to this complacency of the “irresponsible” officials, people face a lot of problems. There is no dearth of funds, but officials don’t ensure completion of works on time. There is a need to pull up those found procrastinating.
DP Gautam, via email

Give councillors timeframe to get works accomplished in their wards
Whenever monsoons hit the City Beautiful, those at the helm of affairs are caught napping. Like previous years, this year, too, rains have stirred them out of their deep slumber. The first showers of the season last week left the roads submerged, unravelling the chinks in the system. Waterlogged roads and choked drains and road gullies brought the traffic to a standstill. When it comes to fixing responsibility for this mess, the MC, which has earned more brickbats than bouquets for many reasons than one, has to take the onus. To meet the monsoon blues, the MC needs to go the extra mile to invent ways and means to address the issue involving safety of human life and property. Each elected member of the House must be given the task and a timeframe to accomplish it. The low-lying areas, which are more prone to waterlogging should be identified and corrective action should be initiated on time. Rainwater harvesting may also go a long way in solving the problem.
Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

How about a tricity disaster management force?
There should be a tricity disaster management force (TDMF), which may be an extension of the fire brigade. A team of the TDMF should survey the tricity in the month of March and finish the task of repairing the broken roads, covering the open manholes and fixing the drainage and sewage problems by May-end. Special care has to be taken of the low-lying areas that are prone to waterlogging. The TDMF personnel in collaboration with the traffic police should also help the people stranded with their vehicles in waterlogged roads. Public information system such as the local TV channel and radio station should be effectively used to inform the residents about the waterlogged roads. This will also help in reducing traffic jams.
AK Agarwal, Chandigarh

Authorities should stop passing the buck
Rain is a blessing, but if not managed sacredly, it leads to woes. The authorities are evasive and busy passing the buck. The UT administration and the MC should plan well in advance and implement these plans religiously. Residents should be involved in the cleanliness drive, so that monsoons become a reason to celebrate and we may sing “Rain, rain, come again!”
MPS Chadha, SAS Nagar

Ground staff too casual
More than cheers, monsoon brings misery to commuters, who have to wade through waterlogged roads and often get stranded in traffic jams. Since this phenomenon is repeated every year and low-lying areas are well-identified, it is a pity that the ground staff fails to remedy the situation and seems immune to the monsoon woes. Instead of wasting time and money on study tours, MC engineers will do well to devote their energy in solving the problems that accompany monsoons.
SC Luthra, Chandigarh

Garbage should be lifted after cleaning road gullies
Each year, the MC spends considerable public money in cleaning road gullies. With rains, all this money is washed away. The ground reality is that workers after cleaning the road gullies do not lift the garbage, which again finds its way to the gullies. Workers should be provided with handcarts to lift the garbage. Also, residents should not use road gullies as a dump ground.
Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Chandigarh

Stormwater drainage an engineering disaster
Although, Chandigarh is supposed to be a modern city, it is not having a system in place for speedy disposal of rainwater. Commuting becomes impossible during rains. The ideal situation would be that the stormwater drainage system completely removes the rainwater. However, the system designed in the city is an enginnering disaster. Lakhs are spent every year to clear the drains, but the situation remains unchanged. The major drawback of the drainage system is that the road gullies have been made too wide horizontally as well as vertically, without increasing the drainage pipe diameter. Horizontal opening is not needed as it becomes a natural trap for all muck and leaves, causing blockage. This needs a serious thought at the highest level.
Sateesh Dadwal, Chandigarh

Careless attitude of govt officials, public responsible for the situation
Most miseries that accompany rains are man-made — a result of careless attitude of both government officials and the general public. If the clogged drains are cleaned properly, waterlogging can be prevented. But, the dereliction of duty by officials concerned creates the same problem every year. On the other hand, it is a known fact that polythene bags lead to choking of drains. Still, people throw these bags carelessly.
AK Sharma, Chandigarh

Bring to an end inter-departmental turf wars that affect work
The civic authorities have not done anything to get rain-ready. The internal roads in Phase 11, SAS Nagar, become waterlogged even after a moderate shower. All vegetation should be cleared from the surface of drains and the drains should be cleared of muck immediately, so that it is not washed back into the drains. The MC has the ultimate responsibility, but the sewerage board is tasked with the execution. The inter-departmental glitches impede the speed of execution. Something needs to be done to eliminate turf wars that lead to the problem every year.
Amarjit Singh, via email

Start cleanliness drive well in time
The civic authorities should start the cleanliness drive well in time to avoid waterlogging. Fine should be imposed on civic agencies for not maintaining the drainage system and roads properly. People should not throw garbage and plastic bags directly into the drains.
Aarti Jagga, via email

Laidback attitude responsible for maintaining status quo
Rainy season is eagerly awaited by all, but it becomes a nightmare when you are stranded in knee-deep water. Garbage keeps getting collected in heaps on the roadside, obstructing the flow of water. The laidback attitude of MC officials is to be blamed for the problem.
Devinder Garg, Chandigarh

End bias in carrying out civic works
The municipal corporation carpets roads in VIP sectors twice a year, ignoring the southern sectors. Several potholes develop on raods during monsoons. There should be no bias in carrying out civic works.
Bhanu Madan, via email

Need to identify underlying problem
It’s a pity that a planned city like Chandigarh has to go through the problem of flooding during monsoons year after year. It raises a question as to why the officials responsible for the maintenance of roads and drainage are not able to check this trend. There may be problems due to a faulty design, such as an inadequate gradient to ensure quick and unobstructed flow of rainwater. New constructions on the vicinity and in the catchment area may also be altering the drainage pattern. In-depth field observations are required to identify the problem.
DS Banati, SAS Nagar

MC officials work for personal gains
Cleanliness of roads, streets and sewers is the duty of local bodies. Budget allocation is there and there is no lack of manpower. Then why not get ready in time, i.e. one week before the onset of monsoons, to face the problem? The officials delay the work for selfish motives. They end up showing inflated bills of money spent on the washed-out works.
Paras R Kalotra, SAS Nagar

Seek weekly report of work done
Monsoon causes a mess due to the carelessness of MC officials. It is surprising that despite a huge fund allocation, nothing is done to avoid the mess. Civic body officials should stand accountable for the given job and a weekly work report should be sought to assess the progress of work. We should become serious about the problem before it’s too late.
Upendra Bhatnagar, SAS Nagar

First Published: Jul 13, 2015 10:46 IST