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Mrunal Manmay Dash

In a unique way to protest the crumbling drainage system in the steel city of Rourkela, the Congress party on Wednesday released fishes on the STI over bridge where the accumulated rainwater posed serious threat to the safety of commuters.

The protest was led by veteran Congress leader and former MLA George Tirkey who took to agitation course after Rourkela witnessed unprecedented water logging in several major residential and commercial areas following a long spell of heavy rain for two consecutive days.

The protesters alleged that the civic body never paid heed to their demands to clear the drains in the city.

President of Congress Seva Dal, Rourkela District, Binod Chandra Rout said, "Commuters have to wade through knee-deep water to cross the flyover. We have been forced to release fishes in this water to make the authorities understand the dire situation."

Tirkey was livid on the civic authorities who, as per allegations, never took any step to get the city rid of the nagging water logging problems. "We have spoken to the PWD Executive Engineer, even wrote to the 5T Secretary, Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister many a times citing the issue. But no steps have been taken so far to address the issue."

"If the authorities do not wake up from their slumber, we will certainly gherao the PwD office and lock it up," warned Tirkey.

Not only the over bridge, but the residents of the Jagannath Colony in Panposh slums too faced serious water logging problems during the recent rains. Water ingress into the houses of the residents forced many to take shelter in higher places.

Responding to the allegations, the Commissioner of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC), Dibya Jyoti Parida said, "We have deployed supervisors and sanitary inspectors in every ward under the Corporation. There has not been any major issue of waterlogging in the city. Wherever problem occurred, we put up pumps to drain out the stagnant rainwater from the inundated areas."

"As far as the Jagannath Colony is concerned, the situation arose because of the absence of drainage system in the area. We have already planned to build drains in that area so that such situation could be avoided in the future," said Parida.

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