Heavy showers expose city's crumbling infrastructure
Faulty sewer system, absence of proper drainage channels, delay in desilting and unplanned expansion contribute to the mess
The incessant rains last week not just threw normal life out of gear in Faridabad, but it also exposed the city’s collapsing infrastructure. The rains caused massive waterlogging on a number of roads due to which vehicular movement remained badly affected in areas including Ajrondha Chowk, Sector 21B, Sector 21D, Parvartiya Colony, Neighbourhood Five ( NH5), Neighbourhood Three (NH3), Old Faridabad, Neighborhood One (NH1), Sector 8, Ballabgarh making life extremely difficult for the residents.
At some places like Dabua colony, Parvartiya Colony, Sector 8, NH5 area, the markets and residential colonies remained badly waterlogged leading to endless traffic jams.
“The city witnessed huge rainfall due to which the entire area was submerged in water which meant commuting was a Herculean task. I kept waiting for hours for autorickshaws to reach office, but not a single autorickshaw was seen due to the mess created by the rains,” said Monu Thakur, a resident.
As Faridabad and its surrounding areas had been witnessing sporadic showers and strong winds, the officials were taken off guard and didn’t know how to deal with the unexpected heavy showers. When heavy rains lashed the city for two days, electric polls in some areas were uprooted due to which electricity remained suspended for 10 to 12 hours at a stretch.
"I had to drop my brother at a bus stop on Surajkund road, but t he main road l eading t o Surajkund road was inundated with rain water," said Vijay Kumar, a resident.
In the Palla area on FaridabadBadarpur border, the residents had the same horror story to narrate. “There were traffic snarls and waterlogging at Sehatpur road, Chetan Market road, Saraswati colony and all this continued for good three days. It was impossible for us to move out of our houses,” said Nitin Kumar, another resident.
However, clogged drains remain a major cause behind waterlogging causing blockades all over the city. And as the city is expanding, the civic agencies are not at all bothered about upgrading the drainage system. But the officials have a different say on the issue.
“The residents are equally to be blamed for the situation. While we agree that the drainage system has not been laid according to a proper plan, people have to be careful, too, as we find a lot of household items during the cleaning of the sewer lines, which cause obstruction in the smooth flow of sewer,” said a Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) official on condition of anonymity.
Encroachments are cited to be another reason behind waterlogging in the city. “The encroachment on roads and in market areas is a regular feature here and the civic authorities do initiate symbolic anti-encroachment drives, but the situation doesn’t really change,” said Shyamvir Singh, a local resident.
Even while laying concrete cement roads, the experts said, extra care needs to be taken to ensure smooth passage of rain water. “The government should set up a proper drainage system in the city and I hope the civic agencies take up this issue with the government on priority basis and get funds sanctioned specifically for this purpose,” said Yogesh Dhingra, corporator, Ward number 15.
“The designing of Neighbourhood One ( NH1), Neighborhood Two ( NH2), Neighbourhood Three (NH3) and even Neighbourhood Four (NH4) was done decades ago with proper planning, but with the passage of time, rampant unauthorised construction led to this huge mess,” said a resident.
“The situation is even worse in some of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) residential sectors. Rain water in Sector 21 B, considered to be posh locality, creates mess on the roads because of the faulty drainage system,” said Puran Kumar, a resident.
The officials said that MCF, the main civic agency in Faridabad, faces financial crunch which makes it difficult for the organisation’s day to day functioning. “The only source of income is the house tax. Therefore, most of the payments are delayed to contrac- tors who are entrusted specific jobs,” said an official.
Senior civic officials accompanied by New Industrial Township (NIT) MLA Naginder Bhadana recently surveyed many waterlogged areas. “Rain water could have easily flown into Gochi drain, but due to some obstruction in the system, the water got stuck leading to clogging at some places in the NIT area. I personally visited the area with the local legislator to identify the blockades and bottlenecks and we are trying to set the system right,” said DR Yadav, chief engineer, Municipal Corporation of Faridabad. He added that pumps were pressed into service to remove rain water at many places.
Some officials also blame political interference that hin- ders the smooth functioning of the civic agency. The officials feel helpless when they have to follow the directions of powerful political figures even if they invite future civic problems. Unless accountability on the part of the officials is fixed, rules are not followed and public too is made aware about their duties besides making funds available for improving the infrastructure, nothing is going to change, claimed officials.
“We have detected some problems which cause waterlogging during rainy season. Currently, we are taking up as short term measures, but we are also making long terms plans simultaneously,” said Ashok Kumar Sharma, the newly appointed MCF commissioner.
Residents claim rampant unauthorised construction has led to this mess.
Encroachments and clogged drains are the major reasons behind waterlogging in the city.