Amid ‘NHAI snub,’ Odisha to solve Bhubaneswar waterlogging problem on its own

Bhubaneswar: A day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari citing inaction on the part of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in providing water discharge facilities along the national highway in Bhubaneswar, Odisha government has decided to construct drainage systems on its own to tackle waterlogging.

In a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, a decision to construct drains and make provisions of high-discharge pumps was finalised.

According to sources, a tender for the construction work of the drain will be floated next month in a bid to complete the work before next year’s Monsoon.

The project will be executed by the Works Department of the State Government.

“A drain will be constructed underground near ISKCON Temple by the Works Department to discharge rainwater. State government will bear the entire expenses of the project. The stretch to be repaired falls under NHAI jurisdiction but the State government has decided to take up the work,” Padhi said.

On the other hand, BJP accused the State government of neglecting other parts of Odisha.

“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari holding NHAI responsible for the waterlogging problem in Bhubaneswar but I want to ask him – who will he blame for the same problems in other parts of the State,” Odisha BJP secretary, Lekhasri Samantsinghar said.

Meanwhile, the decision of the State government to construct an underground drain has been criticised by some Bhubaneswar residents.

“The big question is where they are going to discharge this underground drain water. Without a concrete structure, discharging the water will be impossible. Construction of such drains will be difficult as people have encroached upon land,” a Bhubaneswar resident said.