Patna struggles with life under water

July 16th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, July 16 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had promised in the last two monsoon seasons that waterlogging in the state capital would be history. But the continuing spell of heavy rain here has shown that nothing has changed. As the rain continued Wednesday, now many houses in low lying areas are flooded too.

According to former chief minister Ram Sunder Das: “Life is full of problems here due to waterlogging. It has frightened us this year as civic authorities failed to check it.”

Das, who is a resident of the city’s low-lying Kankarbagh neighbourhood, said: “Look, water is everywhere. Water has entered hundreds of houses. Roads and narrow lanes have become dangerous due to water-filled ditches.”

Waterlogging has also hit the livelihood of the poor. Sunil Kumar, who runs a roadside tea stall in Kankarbagh, said: “I am jobless. Waterlogging has forced me to close the shop. Even if I open my shop, who will come there risking his life for a cup of tea?”

Most of the roads here are under two to three feet of water.

Noted writer Kumar Bimal lost his collection of 600-odd precious books after water entered his house. “I collected the books over the years with my hard-earned money,” he rued.

Many city residents told IANS that garbage, frogs and sometimes snakes were floating indoors with the floodwaters. “It was like hell to live inside, but we had no option as the entire locality was submerged,” said homemaker Chanchan Sinha.

“The waterlogging situation is worse this year. It appears that people have to use boats for their daily chores,” said Ali Imam, a resident of upscale Rajendra Nagar. Several parts of the neighbourhood are under two to four feet of stinking water.

The only happy people are the cycle rickshaw pullers. It is the most sought after mode of conveyance. The pullers are charging more than double the rate. “Waterlogging is a blessing in disguise for us,” said Manohar Paswan, a rickshaw puller.

Waterlogging has affected over a dozen residential localities including Boring Road, Khaitan Market, Bahadurpur, Patel Nagar and Kadam Kuan.

All the schools here have been closed for three days after heavy rains and waterlogging really started to affect normal life Tuesday.

“Schools were closed till Friday for the safety of children,” said an official.

Two people died in the last three days after slipping into overflowing ditches.

The state legislative assembly compound and the state’s only international sports stadium, Moinul Haque Stadium, have been waterlogged for the last few days.

Waterlogging has even affected Patliputra Colony, known as a VIP residential area where the top brass of the state administration and well-to-do businessmen live.

Bihar Urban Development Minister Bhola Singh and Patna Municipal Corporation Commissioner Mihir Kumar Singh blamed nature for the situation.

Residents staged protests against the failure of the government agencies to drain out water.

The situation is likely to worsen. Meteorological office director T.N. Jha Wednesday predicted more rain.

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