Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jul 12:
With a short spell of low pressure induced rains in Odisha’s pilgrim town Puri today, knee-deep stagnant waters on the Bada Danda (Grand Road) exposed the state government’s tall claims of infrastructural preparedness for the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra which is less than a week ahead on July 18.
People in Puri town had to wade through knee-deep water in the Grand Road area with floating garbage from adding to the misery of the commuters after it was lashed by a short spell of rain induced by low pressure.
Water logging was reported in several localities of the town as rain water failed to get discharged with a rainfall of only 29 mm.
It was only yesterday that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held the last Rath Yatra review meeting here to take stock of the preparedness for the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra and had directed for completing all works connected with infrastructure within three days.
The government expects a congregation of 30 lakh devotees during the festival.
While local MLA Maheswar Mohanty was made the chairman of the Nabakalebara Infrastructure Supervision Committee, several top bureaucrats were placed in different capacities to look after infrastructure development projects and lastly some ministers are camping at Puri to oversee completion of infrastructural projects but the short spell of rain today has punctured the government’s tall claims and the whole exercise of series of high level meetings at the state secretariat.
“Water is not vapour. Can it evaporate the moment it fell? Rain water will take time to get discharged. It has taken that much of time to discharge as it should have taken. In future if there is more rain it will take more time accordingly to get discharged. The Daktarkhana Chhak is the lowest point, water from Badasankha, Balagandi and even from Simhadwara area flow to this point and gets accumulated. Won’t water after accumulating take time to get discharged?” asked Maheswar Mohanty, local MLA and chairman of the Nabakalebara Infrastructure Supervision Committee.
Talking to Sambad, Housing and Urban Development minister Pushpendra Singhdeo said the rainwater could not be discharged as the garbages got stuck in the drain mouth. However, the stagnant water was discharged in just 15 minutes after the garbage were removed.
“We will employ people for regular cleaning of the drain mouth so that there will be no problem in the discharge of rainwater next time”, the minister added.
The Water Resources department website shows the department had undertaken 14 projects entailing an expenditure of around Rs 25 crore to improve the drainage system in and around Puri and it says all projects have been almost completed. Today’s scenario has put question marks on the quality of these projects.