Nine-year-old Anushka Kumari, who was returning home from school on Thursday, stumbled and fell on the waterlogged stretch of Gandhinagar-Vidyapati Road of Ranchi Municipal Corporation’s ward 2. When she got up, she vomited many times as she had gulped drain water, and had blood oozing out of her knee.
The Class I student of Gyanodaya Public School in Gandhinagar on Kanke Road has to walk 1km to her Misirgonda residence. That would have been no sweat for the girl if she did not have to cross the low-lying stretch flooded with drain water by stepping on small boulders.
Like thousands of pedestrians, Anuskha manages to do that every day, but on Thursday she tripped. But the child, despite vomiting and hurting her knee badly, was more scared of what her mother would say for dropping her schoolbag in the dirty water and spoiling her textbooks.
Those who use the Gandhinagar-Vidyapati Road — a low-lying stretch of Kanke Road — every day are forced to step on boulders for some 15 metres to avoid ankle-deep drain water. Reason: the dirty water has nowhere to go.
Earlier, drain water used to flow out to a low-lying disputed stretch of land. But in the past month, some people blocked the drain’s exit point. Now, water from the drain spills on to the road.
“Despite reminders, the RMC is silent. Senior officials of the RMC say residents are at fault as they built houses without approval of the building map. That’s a complete lie,” Sanjay Kumar; a local resident, said.
He said the road got flooded even after the “slightest bit of rain”. “You can imagine our dread this season,” he said.
A few months ago, RMC had prepared a database of existing drains aided by 50 students from Ranchi University’s geography department. Ranchi municipal commissioner Manoj Kumar also visited affected localities.
But, residents and even ward councillors feel that the corporation simply does not do enough for Ranchi’s drainage.
A resident of Edalhatu, Shyam Bahadur, said: “RMC’s monsoon plan is meant for certain VIP pockets only. People like us live with choked drains. RMC only collects taxes.”
Ward 7 councillor Sujata Kacchap said she herself was a victim of the “RMC’s mismanagement”. “My house is at lane 2 at Khorhatoli. Two years back, during underground electric cabling work, drainage there was destroyed by (outsourced company) Polycab. The company said they would rebuild the drainage and asked me to submit a detailed project report through the RMC. Unfortunately, the RMC is sitting on the report. I’ve raised this matter at least thrice at board meetings.
The entire stretch near my house gets flooded, but the RMC doesn’t even send safai workers.”
Councillor of ward 4 Husna Ara agreed. “There are certain pockets in my ward with perennial flooding. Harihar Singh Road is the worst affected.
Drain water has no place to flow out. Instead of working out a permanent solution, RMC elevated the road. Now, the slightest shower floods the road.”
RMC health officer Kiran Kumari said they held a special meeting on waterlogging and drainage. “We are taking account of all individual cases of waterlogging due to choked drains. Every ward supervisor has been asked to send reports. We are looking at preventing vector-borne diseases, and permanent solutions.”