Where is the rainwater supposed to go?

City handicapped with waterlogged roads, traffic snarls and an administration playing blame-game

June 19, 2012 10:26 am | Updated July 12, 2016 04:26 am IST - HYDERABAD

HYDERABAD:ANDHRA PRADESH:18/06/2012:Despite their football field being under a sheet of heavy rain water boys play football enjoying the heavy downpour in the city on Monday at Necklace road. ---PHOTO:G_RAMAKRISHNA

HYDERABAD:ANDHRA PRADESH:18/06/2012:Despite their football field being under a sheet of heavy rain water boys play football enjoying the heavy downpour in the city on Monday at Necklace road. ---PHOTO:G_RAMAKRISHNA

It’s been the same old story for more than a decade. Parched citizens look forward to monsoon in hope that the drinking water supply would improve, and are instead then filled with fear of urban flooding with the resultant traffic nightmares.

As the rains arrived on Sunday and on Monday (five centimetres & two centimetres, respectively), the twin cities witnessed water logging on several thoroughfares, overflowing sewer and storm water drains as well as vehicles on crawl. Reasons remain the same such as tardy annual desilting exercise and sluggish remodelling of the primary and secondary storm water drains.

GHMC Commissioner M.T. Krishna Babu vowed to show significant progress in taking up storm water drains repairs when he took over last year, correctly pointing out that it was the only permanent solution to ensure roads don’t get inundated during a downpour.

Yet, he has been unable to push the project through. Two major project reports are available with the municipal corporation, one by the Kirloskar Consultants which had prepared a master plan for core city and another a more comprehensive one on micro level drain network by Voyants Solutions.

Funds are not a constraint but due to the delays in acquisition in properties, rehabilitating the encroachers and shifting of service lines, the monies obtained from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) have been lying unutilised – more than Rs.150 crore, senior officials accept.

Work has been initiated on the primary drains – Murki nala, Kukatpally and Balkapur nalas. Plus on the secondary drains of Yellareddyguda, Banjara Hills, Yousufguda, Kalasiguda, Nagamaiahkunta, Erramanzil, Dandu Mansion, Gandhinagar, Indira Park, Musheerabad and Picket.

While it has been estimated that a total revamp of the storm water drains would cost more than Rs.7,000 crore, not even Rs.200 crore has been spent and just about 233 encroachments removed of the 1,497 listed on the primary drains itself. Repairs were done on a 13-km stretch of the listed 37 km and on the secondary drains - 4.7 km of 47.8 km was taken up.

Non-availability of clear stretches, contractors pulling up and revision of flood period estimates to calculate the widths and depths needed too held up works. There are issues with annual desilting too with work done for 624 km of the 750 km stretches and contractors playing truant for a while refusing to transport silt.

Senior officials say 55 of the 70-odd water logging points identified by the traffic police have been addressed by improving the table drain capacity, removing obstructions, etc.

They are clear; however, that inundations cannot be prevented totally as current draining capacity is for 15-20 mm rain an hour.

Rain gauges in 150 divisions would help plan better traffic management during rains but GHMC has installed just six – head office, Kapra, Qutbullapur, Charminar, Serlingampally and Kukatpally.

It costs about Rs.1.5 crore to install them in all divisions but the job has been left to the disaster management agency.

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