Poor Sanitation, Improper Drainage & Other Issues Are A Bane For Ward No. 53 Of Bhubaneswar!
Encompassing a large part of the city, Ward no. 53 of Bhubaneswar comprises prime locations like Bapuji Nagar, Naveen Niwas, New Forest Park, Basant Apartment Lane-1 till Punama Gate Area, Kukuteswar Temple and Leprosy Colony. A certain familiarity with the localities can easily indicate to a varied range of issues that crop up in the ward, given how the different class of people, from the elite to the slum dwellers, inhabit this region. Interestingly, though the Chief Minister is a resident of the ward, many developmental works have been found stalled in the locality with the denizens suffering from neglect even in accessing basic facilities.
Bapuji Nagar, being one of the main commercial areas of the city, has a major part of it occupied for commercial purpose. However, a large part of it also remains under residential use making it a highly populated region. Yet sanitation issues continue to be unresolved in the region.
As 52-year-old Kanak Devi, a resident of Bapuji Nagar says, “We have been residing here since long and are well aware of the problems of this area. Although Bapuji Nagar has been a commercial area of the capital from the beginning, the locality lacks proper planning and space constraint therefore continues to be a major issue here. The interconnected streets are too narrow and most of the shopkeepers pile the waste in front of their shops instead of disposing it in the dustbins provided by BMC. This only leads to further littering in the vicinity.”
Moreover, as Prattham Dash, a college goer and resident of the locality points out, “The BMC dustbins are not at all cleaned properly. One of them is placed immediately outside my house and gives out a bad smell polluting the surrounding atmosphere. Although water and electricity supply to the locality is better than other areas, sanitation and hygiene need immediate attention and improvement. Being a zone for commercial activities as well, these issues need to be resolved at the earliest.”
Out of the ten major drains that flow through the city to manage the sewage, Drain No.7 is the main sewerage flowing by the New Forest Park area. This drain however, remains blocked throughout the year. But monsoons are when the rains play havoc with the drain water overflowing into the residences in the locality.
“As many other tributary gutters flow into this large blocked drain, the water level in it rises and the waste water gets onto the road and into our houses,” complains Trailoky Rout, a resident of New Forest Park.
Another resident of the area Pradeep Sethi says, “Every year in the monsoons, we face the same problem of overflowing drain and consequent water logging. The water enters our houses too. Once the sewage water entered our house after heavy rainfall and the situation outside was extremely bad. We had to remain indoors for nearly two days waiting for the water level to go down. Unfortunately, this is the situation every year.”
Similarly, the Jharana Sahi slum with around 500 families permanently inhabiting the locality has a major complain of clogged drains and water logging.
In New Forest Park area, lack of concrete roads has further worsened the scenario. Coupled with water logging, commuting becomes a nightmare for the residents of the locality during monsoon. Perhaps, Lane 3 of New Forest Park is the worst affected during the rains.
For the extended part of this ward –Punama Gate area- people face an additional problem of lack of street lights lining the road. Those which are present are either damaged or do not function properly. It becomes difficult for the public to use the road during evenings.
To this, Subhashree Patia, a student and resident of the Punama Gate Area adds, “I stay in this locality and have to commute by this road around 8 to 8.30 p.m. every evening while returning from the tuitions. Most of the street lights are out of order and the road is dark making it unsafe for use.”
To find out the administration’s approach to resolving these existing problems, MCL caught up with the corporator of ward no. 53 Mahamaya Swain. Here are excerpts from the conversation.
Major areas of your ward are affected by water logging during rains. What steps have you taken to resolve this issue?
Yes, the area is affected badly by water logging. But it is important to mention that the major reason is the unplanned allotment and construction of residential buildings in the area that obstruct the drains. As the drains are blocked, there is hardly any passage for the rain water to flow through.
Recently, there was severe water logging in a particular locality wherein we had to pull down the boundary wall of a private residence to evacuate the accumulated water. The public also needs to be self-aware of their responsibilities in these cases.
Poor drainage system is also a concern for this area as the public complains of water overflowing from the drains. How do you intend to solve this problem?
Drain no. 7 was meant to be one of the major drains in the city carrying sewage from gutters of the adjoining areas. But as I mentioned earlier, illegal construction has narrowed down the main drain by multiple times than its actual size. It is obvious that water will overflow. Since it is an open drain, people toss in their garbage irresponsibly into the open sewers. That not only chokes them but solid waste floats around when the water overflows onto the roads.
However, we get the main drain along with the small ones cleaned at frequent intervals. We also have plans to reconstruct the main drain and cover it entirely by laying concrete slabs on it.
What about the roads that are still waiting to be concretised?
Almost all the roads in this area are concretised barring a few. Those left must be embroiled in some land dispute for which no construction work can be carried on them. It is only after the land owners submit a declaration to BMC, we can start work on them.
In Bapuji Nagar, residents complain of neglect on BMC’s part to clean the vicinity. What approach have you taken to solve this problem?
Generally, we clean an area once in a day, but for Bapuji Nagar, we do it twice daily. However, we have taken note of the issues raised by you and will soon take more active steps to look into the sanitation and cleanliness of the area.
Many roads in your ward seem to have street lights that are not working making them unsafe for commuters. What are you doing about it?
We have street lights erected in all localities of the ward and have them inspected regularly. At times, there might be a break down at some place, but we ensure that immediate action is taken to resolve the problem. However, since your team has mentioned about a specific location, we will get it resolved soon.