Is It ‘SMART CITY’ or FLOAT CITY? ! If Crores of Rupees was Spent on New Drains, Why Mangaluru Roads are Still Flooded? The photos in this report will SPEAK more than WORDS as to how this ‘SMART CITY’ looks when it rains heavily!
Mangaluru: Mangaluru has been hit with heavy rains from the last few days and also today, and heavy rains will continue for the next couple of days- and already the City roads are flooded with water, while low-lying areas are submerged underwater? Residents/citizens are sharing videos of the difficulties they were facing, to awaken the City officials about their unscientific drainage work. The Coastal City has a history of flooding after heavy rain. Encroachment on stormwater drains and blockage of these drains with garbage and construction debris is another challenge. Residents of low-lying areas in this Education Hub continue to worry about the higher than usual rainfall. The city which has become a concrete jungle has led into this flooding situation- and nothing has been done to fix this issue for years.
If you travel across the City, every nook and corner of the city is flooded-even though with newly constructed drainage seen adjacent to these flooded roads. Then what’s the use of spending taxpayers money on new drainage, when water is still flooded on the streets. Even after decades, with the City experiencing flooding during monsoons, still, they have not found a permanent solution for this problem, which arises year after year during heavy rains. And in spite of constructing new drains, it looks like it’s a waste of taxpayers money since water is still oozing out of these drains onto the roads, creating havoc to motorists and pedestrians. And it’s always the same spots where flooding takes place, like the one in front of City Centre Mall, on KS Rao road, Kodialguthu Road, Near KMC Attavar, Near State Bank road, Bunder – and even this year, water gushing out of the manholes resulting in flooding of the road.
Even though the various problems created by the flooding and so on, was an eye-opener for Mangaluru City Corporation Mayor, City engineers/contractors and other officials but it doesn’t seem like they have learnt anything nor do they care to improve and rectify the problems- while the streets remain still flooded during heavy rains. So by the way, why does this happen? Fundamentally, the existing infrastructure and drainage system in the city cannot handle the excess water whenever there’s a downpour. Originally, stormwater drains in the City were designed in keeping the water stored- They served the purpose so long as the population of the city was within a certain limit.
The unprecedented growth of Mangaluru, unaccompanied by the necessary infrastructure, has precipitated problems of a large magnitude. The city drainage system comprises major drains, roadside drains and shoulder drains, all of which get overburdened during the rainy season. Regarding the newly constructed drainage- most of them don’t have a proper beginning and a proper end – as a result, drain water overflows to the streets. Poor planning and poor work, for sure. Also, culverts are not de-silted; puddles not identified; no proper channels to drain rainwater in many parts of the city; also MCC says that solid waste management contractors have failed to remove garbage/debris choked drains. Encroachments, revenue layouts and illegal constructions, especially along the stormwater drains and in low-lying areas, are other major causes of flooding. These problems are common to all cities in India and are not peculiar to Mangaluru.
In fact, coastal cities like Mangaluru face bigger problems, virtually every monsoon. What’s required is a comprehensive approach to the problem, which essentially involves putting in place a sustainable drainage management system as in developed countries. A stormwater drain renovation and management projects pertaining to these issues need to be implemented soon. As the city grows in population and sprawl, there’s a need for concerted action on the part of city planning and civic agencies to tackle the problem of flooding, which can not only damage the physical infrastructure but has serious implications on the safety and security of the people.
If the newly constructed drainage system is not effective during heavy rains, there goes Crores of money down the drain. Crores more spent on such projects that remain a mess. If it seems like a muddle, that’s because it is one. And the underlying cause of the mess: Our City corporation nor Mangaluru Smart City Limited which undertakes Smart City projects have no clear policy on how your roads or drainage should be built. Citizens are facing another nightmarish monsoon of bad roads and unscientific drainage. “What is the use of spending so much? Every year, MCC/MSCL spends huge sums of money, but it’s useless because work is not done the right way. Such expenditure will only benefit contractors and vested interests.
Building a good drainage system should form a part of the Mangaluru Master Plan, which is lacking terribly. While the City officials and local MLA’s, MLC and other politicians are boasting about Mangaluru as one of the “SMART CITY” of India, it is time that they also put in some dedicated, sincere and committed “SMART” people to manage effective work in the development of the city- and also make sure that the drainage and footpaths are constructed to the standards, which will benefit the citizens of Mangaluru.