No relief in sight, as officials struggle to dewater city ahead of Dussehra
Moved by the alarming situation, chief minister Nitish Kumar held a high-level meeting of senior officials to deal with the situation, which seemed to be a reminiscent of 2013 that had seen the capital city remaining submerged under rainwater for more than a week.Updated: Sep 30, 2019 04:58 IST
Relief continued to elude the Patnaites on the third consecutive day from waterlogging even as the Patna municipal corporation (PMC) reportedly employed all its resources, including technical support from the urban development department (UDD) to pump out the storm water from various localities on Sunday.
Moved by the alarming situation, chief minister Nitish Kumar held a high-level meeting of senior officials to deal with the situation, which seemed to be a reminiscent of 2013 that had seen the capital city remaining submerged under rainwater for more than a week.
Situation in 2013 was so pathetic that the Patna high court had to intervene and senior officials of the concerned departments were pulled up for poor maintenance of the drainage system.
The senior most officials UDD and the PMC had to appear in the court and were questioned by the court for their inefficiency to deal with the situation. The city witnessed about 152 mm of rains during the last 24 hours, which is the second highest in the last one decade.
Earlier, about 158 mm of rain in 2013 had caused deluge in the city due to absence of strategically planned drainage system. A senior officer of UDD, pleading anonymity, concluded that the plight of the people was unlikely to improve soon as the PMC did not carry out the pre-monsoon de-siltation of its major drains properly and none of the helpline numbers, advertised by the government, was functional or being attended to.
Although the departmental minister Suresh Kumar Sharma and UDD principal secretary Chaitanya Prasad carried out inspection of a few sump houses and gave necessary instructions to the staff there, Patna’s mayor Sita Sahu and PMC commissioner Amit Kumar Pandey, who took over the charge this month only, generally remained out of bounds for the people.
“The city has received huge fund from the state government as well as the Centre for developing an integrated network of drains, but very little seems to have been done to enhance capacity of existing drains and building the new ones to cater to the city’s need,” said a former additional municipal commissioner, adding that the new municipal commissioner too would have his limitation as he joined only recently.
While the PMC commissioner and mayor could not be contacted for their version despite repeated attempts, UDD principal secretary Chaitanya Prasad said that all sump houses were running at their optimum capacity to dewater the affected localities.
He, however, could not stipulated any deadline as to how long will it take to pump out water from the worst affected localities like Rajendra Nagar, Dak Bungalow road, Gandhi Maidan, Kankarbagh, Agamkuan, etc. “Situation will improve if the rain stops,” said Prasad.
There are as many as 38 sump houses meant to remove drain and waste water from the city.
A senior officer of the PMC claimed that the UDD had sanctioned additional amount of diesel to keep the sump houses running in case of power cuts.
However, a former deputy commissioner claimed that it required strategic efforts to clear the waterlogging not just continuous operation of the sump houses.
“Some of the drains, which are permanently clogged due to silt, also play a crucial role in pumping the water out,” he said.