After rains, Patna has become an ‘urban slum’, says court

August 19th, 2008 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Aug 19 (IANS) As heavy rains continue to flood streets and homes here during the ongoing monsoon, the Patna High Court came down heavily on civic authorities for the failure in checking waterlogging and waste management, saying that the city had been reduced to an “urban slum”. “The whole city at best can be described as an urban slum and surely the citizens deserve better,” the court observed while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by rights organisation People’s Watch. It had sought the court’s direction to enforce the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, in Patna, court officials said Tuesday.

The court Monday directed the city municipal commissioner to take all necessary steps to enforce the law by Dec 31, 2008 and file a report in the first week of 2009.

It noted that the law came into existence about eight years ago and yet somebody had to approach the court to ensure its enforcement even though Patna faced hell every monsoon.

The court also said that the lack of solid waste management in the city had aggravated the problem and that citizens were compelled to live amid garbage floating all around.

The petitioner told the court that non-enforcement of these rules was a major cause of environmental as well as river pollution, waterlogging and choked sewage, besides the threat of epidemics.

Earlier on July 28, the court had remarked that Patna becomes a “big slum” during monsoons while hearing another PIL on waterlogging.

“Stinking mounds of garbage have accumulated at all roads and narrow streets of Patna. It has become unbearable to live here,” said Rakesh Singh, a businessman.

The court’s remark has come as a major embarrassment to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Nitish Kumar, who has repeatedly promised to develop Patna into a beautiful city.

As the downpour continued Tuesday, many houses in low-lying areas were flooded and roads were under two to three feet of water.

“It is shocking that garbage, frogs and sometimes snakes float indoors with the floodwaters. It was like hell to live inside, but we had no option as the entire locality was submerged,” said Premlata Sinha, a housewife living in Patliputra colony, which is home to top state administration officials and businessmen.

Other residential areas that were affected include Kankarbagh, Rajendra Nagar, Boring Road, Khaitan Market, Shrikrishna Nagar and Dariyapur Gola.

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