Change of guard brings fresh hopes on resumption of stormwater drain works in Vijayawada

The project, which is expected to bring a solution to water-logging issues in the city, was launched in 2016 but the works were stalled midway in 2022 for various reasons

Updated - June 16, 2024 09:36 am IST

Published - June 15, 2024 10:16 pm IST - VIJAYAWADA

 A drain being cleared of plastic waste on M.G. Road in Vijayawada on Saturday.

A drain being cleared of plastic waste on M.G. Road in Vijayawada on Saturday. | Photo Credit: RAO GN

Officials in the Public Health and Municipal Engineering Department (PHMED) have expressed the hope that work on the stormwater drain project, which would bring a solution to all water-logging issues in Vijayawada, would resume soon with the formation of the TDP government in the State.

The project, launched in 2016, was undertaken by the PHMED, while Larsen & Toubro (L&T) was given the contract to complete the construction. The funds, to the tune of ₹461.04 crore, came from the Central government.

The project was stalled due to various reasons, including alleged non-payment to dues to L&T. Until it was left midway in 2022, the company had completed 59% of the works. Out of the proposed length of 142 km of major drains in the city, 66.1 km is completed, and 187.4 km out of 302 km of minor drains has been finished.

An official from the department, requesting anonymity, said they were expecting a review meeting soon. “Once the meeting is over, we can expect the work to resume. We are hoping it will be completed by next monsoon,” he said.

The one-hour spell of rain in Vijayawada on June 13 (Thursday) evening, which brought the city to a standstill, has once again thrown spotlight on the absence of a stormwater drain project and a system to address the recurring water-logging issue in the city.

Officials inspect drains

To ease traffic disruptions caused by water-logged roads, officials from the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) conducted an inspection of the side drains and the de-silting works in many areas on June 14 and 15. Municipal Commissioner Swapnil Dinkar Pundkar has ordered officials to complete the work by the month-end.

Reviewing the work at major outfall drains from Ajit Singh Nagar to Kandrika to the IRR passing through Dosney Land and a railway track, the Commissioner observed that the water flow was being obstructed by the construction of the third railway line and directed officials to coordinate with the authorities concerned to ensure an unobstructed water flow.

Noticing that optical fiber cables (OFC cables) were severely obstructing the flow of rainwater in the drains, he told the officials to impose heavy fines on broadband service providers. He ordered the suspension of a sanitary secretary and issuance of show-cause notices to a sanitary inspector and an assistant engineer for being negligent in their duties.

“Much of the water-logging problem will be addressed if the public cooperates with us by not throwing plastic waste into the drains,” he said, warning of strict action against restaurants if they dispose of waste into the drains.

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