BHUBANESWAR: Swanky recreational facilities along with green cover can be set up alongside the natural drainage channels in the city, experts believe. They say the channels should not just be renovated, the space alongside should be used for various recreational purposes.
The state capital has 10 natural drainage channels. But the drainage division has been creating concrete walls on both sides of the channels to avoid corrosion and check spilling over of the rainwater during the rainy season. "Given the width and size of the natural channels here, they should be properly designed so as to make them not just a passage for releasing water and silt. At most of the places (where the channels have passed through residential areas) they can be covered with concrete slabs to make them suitable for residents to go on evening strolls. On either side of the channels, plantation drives can also be carried out," said former diplomat Abasar Beuria.
He said the side space on either side of the channels should be developed in such a way that they looked like "neighbourhood recreation destinations".
"These can be an ideal destinations for morning walkers, cyclists and those who love nature. I think that while planning the renovation of the channels, some funds should be set aside for periphery beautification drives," said Beuria.
Official sources said the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) was working on creating two attractive lake zones, which are located between two major roads of the city, where a natural drainage channel has a dead end. BDA, sources said, has completed the survey for Lake Zone-II (between Sachivalaya Marg and Janpath).
"Like the BDA's lake zone development, the natural drainage channel system should also be made attractive. In several other countries, such natural drainage channels have turned into attractive hangout zones," said real estate consultant Srikant Rout.
Cities in European countries look beautiful because they are able to maintain the natural channels, said urban planner Piyush Rout. "In Bhubaneswar, if you travel from south to north you will come across an equal width of seven natural channels flowing from west to east. But sadly, they are being used as carriers of domestic waste and hotel leftovers," said Rout.
He said these channels could not only be used for amusement but also for alternative mobility and transport. "These water channels can allow for people to move along them. The distance from one side of the city to another will be thereby reduced. The state government should start thinking about developing the sides of the channels as green corridors," Rout added.