Encroachment of Nallahs responsible: JMC
Sanjeev K. Sharma
JAMMU July 12: Waterlogging at many places, garbage and litter on city roads and streets, dirty water gushing out of the sewerage holes, blocked drains and entering residential houses and shops with moving vehicles splashing dirty water on passersby and those on two wheelers, was all the City of Temples witnessed today due to heavy downpour which marked the advent of monsoon this year.
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While the affected people questioned unpreparedness of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) which was supposed to de-silt drains and Nallahs much before the start of rainy season to avoid damages, the worst hit areas remained Gumat-Jogi Gate area, Rajiv Nagar near Bikram Chowk, Gandhi Nagar, Nanak Nagar, Kalika Colony, Bantalab etc.
“Water from Nallah at Last Morh area of Gandhi Nagar entered some houses causing huge damage,” Bhanu Mahajan, JMC Councillor of Ward 21 (Gandhi Nagar area) said adding that Nallah behind Apsara Theatre also overflew and the dirty water entered residential houses in the locality.
She also informed that Landoi Choi Nallah also overflew causing heavy damage and claimed that the Nai Basti Nallah in her Ward was reduced in width from six to three feet after repair due to which water gushes out of it during rains.
“What the Chief Engineer of Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED) and Executive Engineers of five divisions of JMC are doing when there is such devastation due to rains,” she resented.
“Drains overflew and water entered many houses in my Ward though Nallahs here did not overflew despite being blocked,” Ritu Chowdhary, JMC Councillor Ward 7 (Gumat area) said.
She also said that out of 35 Safai Karamcharis of her Ward, only three were present on duty.
While from Ambphalla to Bantalab, the road was filled with litter which came out from blocked drains, flash flood at Bantalab road, near Kendriya Vidyalaya, caused water-logging and the water also entered many shops and a petrol pump in the area causing huge damage.
“Water of flash flood brought silt and stones with it and entered our underground tanks thereby causing large scale damage,” Mohan Lal—Manager at a petrol pump in Bantalab informed adding that the flood started in wee hours and was there for many hours in morning.
Eyewitnesses informed that waterlog also affected vehicular movement on Bantalab road for some time.
“Though there was no big loss in my Ward yet the drains overflew due to heavy rains,” Narotam Sharma, Councillor Ward 3 (Mastgarh area) said.
Rajni Bala, Councillor Ward 60 (Paloura area) said the bad shaped roads in her Ward which lacked blacktopping were further deterred by the heavy rainfall and water entered some houses in Buta Nagar and some other localities.
Amit Gupta, Councillor Ward 19 (Jewel area) said being a low lying area, Rajiv Colony near Bikram Chowk in his Ward turned water filled after the rainfall.
Some people from posh localities like Channi and Trikuta Nagar also claimed that water entered their houses.
Many people used social media and uploaded videos of water-logging, litter spread on roads and streets etc to highlight the problem.
Sources informed that JMC has not given rain coats to the Safai Karamcharis because of which they always remain unable to work in rainy season.
Chairman of JMC’s Public Health and Sanitation Committee, Narinder Singh when contacted said since morning he remained in the areas where rainfall has caused damage.
“Most of the affected areas are those where encroachment has taken place over Nallahs,” he said adding that 200 feet length of the Nallah in Gandhi Nagar has been covered by concrete slab and it is not possible for labour or machinery to reach there for de-silting.
“Now the locals there have agreed that the slab should be removed to de-silt the Nallah and the same will be done soon after the approval by JMC Commissioner,” he maintained.
The Chairman also said that in Nai Basti shops are constructed over the Nallah after placing concrete slab over it which makes it tough to de-silt it.
“PHE pipes pass through the Nallah in Nanak Nagar and the garbage gets stuck in these pipes causing block leading to overflow of the big drain,” the Chairman informed adding that at Rajiv Nagar near Bikram Chowk Irrigation Department has to press into service its water pumps to clear the accumulated water in low lying locality which was not done in proper time due to which water entered residential houses.
“JMC teams remained on job and used sucking machines to clear the water that entered tanks in residential houses,” Singh further said adding that the local body now have two CTOs one on either side of river Tawi so that the work can be divided.
When asked why JMC was not prepared well in advance to deal with the monsoon, Corporation’s Mayor, Chander Mohan Gupta said JMC started de-silting of Nallahs right from the month of February but as it really rained very heavy such things happened wherein even boundary walls at certain places too collapsed in the heavy downpour.
He also held encroachments over the Nallahs responsible for much of devastation and said that these encroachments will be strictly dealt and removed soon.
“Apart from this we will also start a special drive of 15 days against the polythene use as poly bags mostly block drains,” he said.
The Mayor also said that for Janipur Wildlife Department, he has asked the JMC to leave the Nallah near Excelsior House for them to construct.
“Either they (Wildlife Department) should construct it or let us to make it because we have sufficient funds for that and many locals of the area are suffering as the big drain needs proper repair,” he maintained.
On Safai Karamcharis not being provided with proper gears like rain coats etc, he said that those Safai Karamcharis who enter Nallahs are given all such things.