BHUBANESWAR: Raghunathpur near Patia is fast gaining the notoriety of Sundarpada, which is infamous for waterlogging at compounds of highrises and apartments due to unplanned construction.
Just like Sundarpada, Raghunathpur too is an emerging real estate hub with topnotch builders floating residential and commercial projects there. The locality houses over 80 apartment blocks, including those under construction. Most of these are, however, are waterlogged after this week's incessant rain, while the situation in Sundarpada has improved this year with new drains being built.
Approach roads, ground floors and basements of most of the multi-storey apartments at Raghunathpur were submerged and the water is yet to recede in many. "One should rethink owning a house here," said Ghana Shyam Sahoo, a resident of Raghunathpur who has built a house here.
Experts said poor planning had resulted in the mess. "
When the multi-storey apartment blocks were built, no thought was given to drainage of storm water. This was a disaster waiting to happen," said Gopal Panda, a professor of geography at Utkal University.
The newly growing residential area in Raghunathpur (which is a panchayat area) and its surroundings, about a dozen villages, lie in a valley of farmland where rainwater from Chandaka forest and Nandankanan's Kanjia lake flows into. "Since agricultural land was converted into residential plots, rainwater was bound to enter the buildings," said Surendra Behera, former director (town planning) and chairman, Odisha chapter of Institute of Town Planners, India.
Behera said the comprehensive development plan (CDP) for Bhubaneswar, which was prepared by IIT Kharagpur, was lopsided as it did not take such issues into account.
"The topography of Bhubaneswar is such that it should never face waterlogging. However, the problem is arising because of messy growth and poor enforcement of norms," said Piyush Rout, an urban management consultant.
Builders blamed poor work by the drainage division and lack of monitoring by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) for the unplanned urban growth.
"With rise in population, new residential areas are bound to come up. But the drainage division is not working hard enough to ensure proper drainage. Even old localities inside city are facing waterlogging due to poor drainage," said Binay Krishna Das, president, Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (Credai), Odisha.
"While approving plans, BDA should ensure that the projects adhere to the desired height of plinth level so that there is no waterlogging inside the housing projects. While certain developers calculate the safe plinth height on their own, others ignore it," said Pradipta Kumar Biswasroy, president, Real Estate Developers' Association of Odisha.
City civic authorities blamed real estate developers for the problem. "Housing projects in many localities in and around city suffer from poor planning. Many promoters simply ignore building proper drainage," said mayor Anant Narayan Jena.