Nearly a decade (2011-2021) has passed. Odisha's Capital City still goes underwater in September, whenever the top smart city recorded moderate to very heavy rainfall in a span of only 24 hours.
The Civic authorities claimed this rain is unprecedented, hence was such chaotic scenes of urban flooding.
Here is a reality check: July 2018: The capital city recorded a very heavy downpour (220mm rainfall in less than 18 hours). And the scene of deluge dominated then.
In contrast, the top Smart City in the country recorded only 195mm rainfall in 24-hours on Sept 13, 2021.
The State's Capital has witnessed massive urban floodings in the years 2011, 2014, 3-times in 2018 and 2019. Except for 2018, all the dates of 'Capital' inundation fell in the month of September only.
Why 'Capital' Deluge?
A plan to re-work the in-sufficient drainage network in the State's Capital has been hanging fire since 2011-12.
Under the AMRUT scheme, an assessment of stormwater drainage was carried out under the SLIP (service level improvement plan). Even, the Ministry of Urban Development's (MoUD) City Sanitation Plan in 2017 had put the glare on poor stormwater drainage system in the Smartest City. But all these assessments were to no avail, as the large-scale urban flooding witnessed on Sunday-Monday provided a reality check.
Why Capital Sinks In Rainwater?
As per AMRUT SLIP-2015 assessment, the coverage of stormwater drainage in the City is only around 45 per cent. The report has identified a gap of around 65 per cent. The report finds no separate stormwater drainage network in the City. The gaps are overwhelming. (see the image below)
The report reveals the locations in the City where the stormwater mixes with sewer water and during peak rainy season, the stinking scenes of waterlogging put the Smartest City into chaos. Check the locations where the unhygienic waters overflowed on the roads during the last 48 hours.
- Chandra Sekharpur
- HB Colony
- Sailashre Vihar
- C R P Square
- Vivekananda Marg
- Old Town
The Capital City has nearly 2-dozen flood-prone points. Check the areas below.
- Siva Nagar
- Sri Ram Nagar, Lane-5,10
- Ward No 59 Laxmi Sagar
- Nayapalli, Near Iskon temple
- Acharya Vihar
- Jaganath Nagar, Bhagabat Sandhan
- Brahmeswar Patna
- Gada Mahavir Road
As per the report, in the above areas, 53 meters to 65 meters stretch of the drains are prone to choking due to solid waste.
Glare On BMC
During the year 2011-12, under Central Government's UIDSSMT (Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns) Scheme, a DPR (Detailed Project Report) was prepared by the BMC and submitted to the Odisha Urban Development Department. However, the project had not been initiated till 2017. The DPR was prepared to cover nearly 60.03 km of the primary (main) drain, And the claim then was, this project would solve the stormwater drainage management in the Capital City fully (100%)
But the massive water logging and urban flooding during the last 48-hours put big question marks over the project initiated by the Capital City's civic body to address the burning issue of urban flooding during peak rainy season.
If sources are to be believed, the envisaged project has been lying in a dormant state for over a decade, despite the flow of funds under the Smart City Project. Land acquisition to widen the stormwater drainage project is yet to begin.
"In order to put a full stop on the deluge chaos, the city would require branch drains over the existing drains to connect to the main drain. Only this will ensure 100 per cent coverage of stormwater drainage system in the State Capital," quipped a former BMC Commissioner.