Too Little, Too Late: Monsoon Likely A Month Away, Flood-Prevention Steps Give Sinking Feeling To Citizens | Nagpur News

Too Little, Too Late: Monsoon Likely A Month Away, Flood-Prevention Steps Give Sinking Feeling To Citizens | Nagpur News
Too Little, Too Late: Monsoon Likely A Month Away, Flood-Prevention Steps Give Sinking Feeling To Citizens | Nagpur News
Nagpur: Almost eight months after the flash flood which wrecked havoc in the lives of 25,000 families living downstream of Ambazari dam and along the banks of Nag river and caused damage to the tune of hundreds of crores, memories of the catastrophe still haunt the affected citizens . What’s adding salt to their wounds is the little progress achieved in the flood prevention measures which were initiated to avoid a re-run of the tragedy.

Decrying lack of concrete action on the ground, residents stated that the initiatives taken so far, like the Nag river clean-up drive, are inadequate to prevent flooding. Instead of swift and decisive action, the administration appears to be stuck in bureaucratic quagmire and the departments concerned are only passing on the responsibility to each other without tangible results, they said.

Only 40 of the planned projects are underway, with construction beginning on only 15 retaining walls. Despite the pressing need, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has diverted resources to repairing 25 roads damaged in the floods, drawing criticism from residents who argue that building retaining walls should have been given priority.

Anxiety grips the affected residents, particularly when it rains heavily in the city. Many are unable to sleep soundly and stay awake through the night, haunted by the specter of another calamity.

Even the NMC’s Nag river cleanliness drive is progressing at a sluggish pace, with only 7.34 km out of the planned 16.58 km stretch covered so far. The data procured from NMC reveals that out of the 4.40 km stretch of the river from Ambazari Lake to Panchsheel Square, the civic body has covered only 1.55 km and removed 3,444 cum silt from the riverbed.

TOI tried to contact NMC’s senior officials assigned to monitor the flood prevention works — superintending engineers from NMC’s river rejuvenation and public works departments Shweta Banerjee and Manoj Talewar — but they were not available for comments.

With monsoon expected to arrive in less than a month, residents like Gajanand Deshpande from Ambazari Layout questioned whether the NMC can prevent flooding given the slow pace of work.

Residents also pointed out that there is a depth of technical expertise in the high-powered committee formed nearly five to six months post-calamity, as it comprises only one representative from the irrigation department while the remaining members are IAS officials. They even cited the flooding of Vena River in 1979 when special IAS officers were swiftly mobilized for relief efforts.

“Furthermore, bureaucratic red tape and administrative inertia appear to prioritize political expediency over citizen safety. Concerns are mounting as authorities are defending illegal constructions like the Krazy Castle and Vivekananda Memorial over public safety,” they said.

Yeshwant Khorgade, another resident, stressed the need for shifting the Vivekananda statue installed at the memorial at the Ambazari lake overflow point. A retired superintending engineer from MSEDCL and a VNIT alumnus, Khorgade had played a key role in setting up thermal power infrastructure in Maharashtra state. “Nowhere else in the world a structure has been erected in front of a dam spillway,” he said.

Rameshwari Bansod, a resident of Yashwant Nagar, pointed out that in the last eight months, even the width of Nag river passing through Krazy Castle or Seven Wonders has been increased yet. With the monsoon at the doorstep, residents like Bansod are living in fear of repeated catastrophes.

Dr Archana Deshpande from Shankar Nagar echoes feelings of countless others who are still living under a cloud of uncertainty and fear. She acknowledged discussions were held with municipal commissioner Abhijeet Chaudhari regarding the flood-prevention measures but expressed skepticism about their efficacy. “Despite assurances, ground-level progress remains sluggish, leaving residents disillusioned with the administration’s ability to address their concerns effectively,” she said.

Rivers——-Length——-Cleaned

Nag —-16.58 km——7.34 km

Pili —-17.42 km——11.93 km

Pora ——15.17 km——6.58 km

DAMAGED RETAINING WALLS & ROADS

Zones—Retaining walls—Roads

Laxmi Nagar—12—10

Dharampeth—5—2

Hanuman Nagar—13—Nil

Dhantoli—13—13

Gandhibagh—1—Nil

Satranjipura—2—Nil

Lakadganj—12—5

Ashi Nagar—6—4

Mangalwari—8—13

WORK IN PROGRESS

Construction of retaining wall | 15 places

Project Cost | Rs6.89 crore

Renovation of roads | 25 roads

Project cost | Rs 7.61 crore

Works To Begin

Repairing broken retaining wall | 72 places

Project Cost | Rs151 cr

Rebuilding damaged roads | 48 places

Project cost | Rs 26.13 crore

 
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