Congress re-enacts Iskcon flooding inside NHAI office in city

Bhubaneswar: At a time when the blame game over waterlogging in front of Iskcon temple is still continuing, the Congress on Monday staged a demonstration by creating ‘artificial flooding’ inside National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) office here.

As a mark of protest, the Congress workers led by district unit president Manas Choudhury poured water from a tanker inside the NHAI office.

Through the demonstration, the Congress wanted the authorities to wake from its slumber and take concrete steps to prevent waterlogging at the particular stretch on National Highway no 16 in front of the Iskcon temple.

Choudhury stated the party will intensify agitation in coming days if the NHAI does not resolve such issues at the earliest as the waterlogging is causing severe inconvenience to the commuters.

Senior Congress leader, Suresh Routray who was also present at the spot, said similar protests will be held at the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) office as well if the authorities fail to initiate action.

On the other hand, a senior NHAI official stated their department is responsible to construct drains to facilitate discharge of rain and waste water passing through the highway stretch. However, cooperation is also needed from Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) in this connection.

“The BMC has to be involved as water from other localities is also accumulating and being released through the nearest culvert. It is unfortunate that only NHAI is being blamed for the waterlogging situation,” the official added.

Former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda while responding to a Twitterati wrote:

Experts believe that such issue can be resolved when all government departments including the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, the Bhubaneswar Development Authority and the NHAI  work in tandem.

Besides, concrete measures should also be taken to clear encroachments from the area so that such issues do not recur.

“The existing drainage system is not built to handle excess water in case of heavy rains within a short period of time. Encroachment in the area is also adding to the woes as drains are not being properly desilted. There has been lack of coordination among different government agencies to address such problems,” said Urban Town Planner, Piyush Rout.

People are mostly blaming the BMC over the issue as it is an elected body, Rout added.

BMC had earlier written to the NHAI blaming the latter’s lackadaisical approach for the messy drainage facility which led to acute waterlogging following heavy rain that lashed the city on Saturday. Several vehicles were stuck in the flood water in front of the temple on NH-16 for long hours.

The corporation had alleged that as blockage in the trap well has not been cleared, it is leading to waterlogging on the service road of the national highway even in case of scanty rainfall.