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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Failed drainage system adds to Patna’s plight as many areas remain flooded

Many residential areas in Patna remain under five-six feet of storm water even when the rain has stopped. One of the reasons for this is the choked and incomplete drains, the construction of which had started way back in 2006.

patna Updated: Oct 01, 2019 10:15 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
A flooded street in Rajendra Nagar area,  Patna,  on Monday, September 30, 2019.
A flooded street in Rajendra Nagar area, Patna, on Monday, September 30, 2019. (Santosh Kumar / HT Photo )

Famous folk singer Sharda Sinha remained confined to her house in Patna’s Rajendra Nagar area, submerged in rain and drain water for the last three days, before being rescued on Monday. She had no water to drink or anything to eat for the last three days. Her cry for help remained unattended by officials.

She was not alone to go through the nightmare, though she was lucky being a celebrity. There are thousands of others who had to suffer immensely due to continuing rain and subsequent water-logging that left many residential areas in the state capital, including posh colonies like Kankarbagh and S K Puri, under five to six feet of storm water. Even when the rain stopped, there was no trace of reduction in water level due to choked and incomplete drains, the construction of which had started way back in 2006.

Conscious of the saucer-like shape of the city, the state government had proposed many schemes to streamline its drainage system in the past one decade. However, the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) started work on the first major sewerage and drainage system after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid its foundation stone in late 2017. To be built at an estimated cost of Rs 2,025 crore, the project, however, is still incomplete.

Several residents of Hanuman Nagar, a low-lying area of Kankarbagh, had to move out of their homes after rain water mixed with slush from the nearby drains started surging in. “There is no power in this area ever since it started raining heavily. Poisonous reptiles had begun to crawl inside the house with rising water, forcing us to vacate,” said Rajeshwar Rai, a retired engineer who lives in Hanuman Nagar.

“We have never seen flooding like this in my life time. It rained heavily in 2013 also, but water did not enter house at that time,” said Rajiv Trivedi of S K Puri, adding that the ground floor of his house along with vehicles had been completely flooded. Citing reports from the PMC, he alleged that Rs 6 crore allotted to the civic body for desilting drains ahead of monsoon seemed to have gone down the drain.

Chaitanya Prasad, principal secretary of urban development department (UDD) who inspected various sump houses to oversee their operation, said the situation deteriorated because of continuous rain. “It rained about 152 mm in a single day on September 29 and it’s still continuing. This is the second highest in the last one decade after the maximum precipitation recorded 158 on September 3, 2013,” said Prasad, adding that food packets were being airdropped for those still trapped.

The district administration has roped in six teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and two of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) along with 32 boats to carry out rescue operation in the waterlogged areas, which are facing increased threat of flooding due to the rising level of rivers Ganga and Punpur. About 16 lakh people have been hit by the waterlogging, which refuses to recede despite continuous operation of 38 sump houses. “We are working relentlessly to pump out water, but cannot say for sure as how much time will take to make the city dry,” said PMC commissioner Amit Kumar Pandey.

A former official of the PMC attributed the recurring instances of waterlogging in Patna to haphazard planning of drainage system. “There has been a lot of planning, but that is seldom translated into reality in the right earnest. The urban development department had started work on Rs 64-crore drainage network, but all the amount and time was wasted as it was never completed. In 2012, the Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (Buidco) had proposed Rs 2,200 crore drainage network along with five sewerage treatment plant (STP) under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). But the scheme was discontinued before the state got it formally approved by the Centre,” said the official, adding that work on five STPs along with their network sanctioned under Namami Gange project in 2017 was still incomplete.



First Published: Oct 01, 2019 10:00 IST

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