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Suryakant Jena

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation Commissioner Sanjay Singh on Wednesday broke silence following series of urban flooding incidents and the recent death of a 15-year-old student in a drain mishap in Odisha Capital city.

Singh defended backlash from various quarters for not taking preemptive measures in streamlining drainage activities, which has been causing waterlogging chaos in the Smart City almost every monsoon.

On urban flooding, the BMC Commissioner informed that city civic authorities had earlier marked 27 vulnerable waterlogging spots but after record-breaking rainfall this year, the numbers of such susceptible zones have been revised to 75.

The main cause behind rising waterlogging issues is violation of construction guidelines, encroachment on drain channels and recharge points. But in order to deal with the issue, the BMC at the same time has also expedited measures to resolve the deluge situations by deploying water pumps.

Last year in 2020, as many as 20 pumps were installed at strategic locations to drain out standing water and this year too, more 35 such pumps have been put in place, said Singh.

The BMC Commissioner further informed that natural drain channels cannot be concretised nor covered with slabs as protection measures because of the Supreme Court and NGT guidelines. But there are other ways to ensure that mishaps during heavy rains at such points do not happen again, Singh assured while expressing his condolences over the death of class 10 student Jyoti Prakash Behera who was washed away by floodwater current in a stormwater channel near Satabdi Nagar Bank Colony in Siripur area.

Constructing new drains within the next monsoon is not feasible so, efforts will put in place to ensure more pumps are mounted to flush out floodwater and also prevent mishaps on war footing, the BMC Commissioner said.

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