The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) has begun the pre-monsoon cleaning of drains here in the state capital. With BMC's focus on Covid-19, many important operations like pre-monsoon preparedness had taken a back seat. Last year's BMC budget proposed an infrastructure push, with sewage network worth Rs 323 crore and storm water management for Rs 139 crore. Medical experts have, however, warned that Covid-19 accompanied by monsoon related ailments, could lead to a new health crisis.
“Cleaning of drains has begun. All small drains have been cleared and cleaned. Work is underway on medium-sized drains, of which 50 per cent have been cleaned. Big drains that rise to dangerous levels in the monsoon, would be cleared of encroachments in the coming days,” said BMC additional commissioner, Rajesh Rathod. These drains require use of heavy machinery and it would begin the coming days, he said.
There are about 800 large drains in Bhopal. Many of these were inundated to their capacity in 2016. It leads to unprecedented flooding in low-lying areas, although such extreme instances have not been reported since then.
Before the monsoon, BMC undertakes removal of encroachments from drains, otherwise it leads to flooding and blocks natural sewage. About 80 per cent sewerage water mixes with storm water drains in the state capital, leaving more than 30 locations in Bhopal extremely vulnerable to floods or flood-like situation in case of heavy downpour, according to a Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation Limited (BSCDCL) report prepared in 2018. However, number of areas may go up, owing to illegal structures coming up on drains.
The main drains include Patra, Mandi and Hataikheda, Jatkhedi and sewage drains spread across Ashok Vihar to Hoshangabad Road. These areas faced inundation during 2016 monsoon.