BHUBANESWAR: Two hours of heavy downpour on Monday morning threw life out of gear in the city. Several residential areas and roads were waterlogged as a drizzle continued almost through out the day. The rains are yet to arrive in their full fury, but the city has already started to suffer, complained residents.
Despite all the tall claims of preparedness by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, (BMC) severe water logging brought life to a standstill in Acharya Vihar, Kedar Gouri Vihar, Rasulgarh and Cuttack Road. A house collapsed at Rasulgarh and students of Subhadra Mahtab Girls' High School in Old town area had to wade through ankle-deep water to enter classrooms. The entrance of the school, the principal's room and the assembly were under water. Vehicles were stranded in knee-deep water at Master Canteen Square and Cuttack Road.
"It's not any interior area, but the heart of the city, Master Canteen Square, that is severely waterlogged. I Can't imagine the condition of low-lying areas. I shudder to think that the entire rainy season is ahead of us," said Pradymna Mahapatra, a commuter. The Met office has predicted heavy rain in the city and in most parts of the state in the next 24 hours.
"The BMC did not learn a lesson from the disaster last year. Every year, rainwater gushes into our houses, but last time water logging was most serious as the water could not find a way out. Despite several complaints, the BMC is not cleaning the choking drains and water logging has become a regular feature here. Adding to the woes, the civic body started construction of drains after the rain started," said Antaryami Sahu, a resident of Acharya Vihar.
The problem in the area is so serious, that last year people had to tie their vehicles with chains in the garages because some small cars were by the heavy flow of water. Residents had to wade through waste-high water at some places, with their children sitting on their shoulders.
Bhubaneswar mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said, "Our staff attended to all calls and complaints of water logging on Monday. In Acharya Vihar, the drain no-4 is a cause of concern. It's being repaired at both the ends." He said BMC had opened a 24X7 help desk to receive complaints of water logging. Besides, 10 pumps and five excavators are always ready to attend to SOS calls. "We have also assigned special duty officers at our officers till the end of monsoon," he added.
Frustrated at the BMC's way of wrok, Mahadev Rout, a Sashrti Nagar resident, said, "The municipal authorities claimed to have cleaned the chocked sewer lines and drains. The silt removed a few days back were heaved on roadsides. As soon as it started raining, the silt went back into the drains."