The Odisha Assembly House Committee on Tuesday took serious note of the death of a minor boy in an open drain in Bhubaneswar and decided to hold meeting with top civic officials of the Twin Cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack over the issue.
"The Committee has taken serious cognizance of the incident. A decision has been taken to hold discussions with commissioners of both BMC and CMC, chief engineers of drainage division and other officials and JICA authorities on October 5,” MLA Mohammed Moquim, a member of the committee, said.
On Sunday, 15-year-old school student Jyoti Prakash Behera had gone missing after falling into an open sewer in Shatabdi Nagar area in Bhubaneswar. His body was recovered the next day by fire services personnel after a prolonged search operation.
The open drain in Lane 7 of Shatabdi Nagar is a burning example about the apathetic attitude of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.
According to allegations, the residents had requested the civic body many a times for construction of permanent drain. After their repeated pleas fell in the deaf ears, the locals installed two hume pipes on their own to drain out rain water from the area.
“We collected funds from among ourselves and constructed the bridge.Just by developing areas like Bapuji Nagar and Raj Mahal, we cannot claim it to be a Smart City,” said a resident.
The residents alleged that the tragedy would not have happened had the BMC listened to their pleas on drain construction.
According to sources, from Old Town to Palasuni and Cuttack Road to Master Canteen, the Smart City of Bhubaneswar is dotted with life-threatening open drains. At least six persons have died in the open drains in the city in the past six years.
According to unofficial data, the Capital city has over 800 km drain network of which more than 60 per cent are not covered with slab.
Rajendra Mallick, a resident of Palasuni said, “Commuters often fall into open drains while travelling. We live in the locality with our family. The open drains pose a serious threat to our lives. Children often fall into drain while playing. The government is responsible for it.”
Swarup Ranjan Sahu, a resident of Jharpada said, “Motorcyclists not familiar with the area often fall into open drain which lead to serious injuries or death. Despite repeated complaints, the result has been zero.”