Is Bhubaneswar’s rapid expansion in all directions making the city prone to flood? The scene of under-construct high rises and new residential colonies amidst sea of water on the outskirts of city gives an indication of the trend.
Raghunathpur, which was earlier known as an outskirts locality and now a part of city, on Friday witnessed swirling water entering residential colonies and flooding premises of under construct 14-storeyed building, besides vast stretch getting inundated.
Flooding of entire Raghunathpur area rang alarm bells among new settlers. In near future, the frequency of colonies getting flooded within hours of shower will only increase further. Floodwater almost touched backward of Big Bazar Square at Patia.
On the other side of railway track, villages such as Kalajhari and Ostapada have been submerged. People were seen fleeing to safer places.
“Such a vast area getting flooded around Raghunathpur is something new to us. During past couple of years, Raghunathpur is part of Bhubaneswar and high income group people have started to settle down here,” said Patitapaban Mishra, who built a house near Raghunathpur.
Mr. Mishra pointed out even the multi-thousand crore apartment projects which were under construction were not spared by the floodwater this time.
If people in northern side of Bhubaneswar are clueless about rainwater entering their houses, southern-eastern Bhubaneswar (Sundarpada area) had already experienced the plight of inundation a few years ago. The misery of houses getting submerged in eastern part of city has multiplied this year.
Why is Bhubaneswar fast getting into the situation akin to that of Mumbai? Rapid unplanned growth around the capital city is the sole reason behind the disaster. Vast agricultural fields used to constitute outer channel of Kanjia Lake of Nandankanan. However, as real estate developers and new settlers have started to convert agricultural land into residential colonies, the natural channels for water discharge are blocked now. Result is evident. Two hours of heavy rain would throw life haywire.
This week’s torrential rain also submerged national highway near Acharya Vihar for the first time. Traffic had to be diverted and vehicles remained stranded on road for hours due to water-logging. Experts blame it to construction of flyovers and development roads without paying much emphasis on water discharge mechanism.
The new by-pass road on eastern side of GGP Colony, Bomikhal and Laxmisagar area too proved to be a bane for people who have been struggling to cope with water inundation during rainy season. The new road had also blocked natural discharge of water from capital city. “Planners have not learnt lessons from the disasters in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi. When they conceive new infrastructure projects like roads, first priority should be given to water discharge system. Apart from human miseries, water-logging in urban areas had also an impact on economy,” said Piyush Ranjan Rout, an urban management practitioner. Despite several attempts authorities neither from Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation nor from Bhubaneswar Development Authority were prepared to talk on the unplanned growth of the city.