Is NHAI’s Inaction Sinking Smart City?

**Bhubaneswar: ** Despite having earned accolades and glorious tag by the Centre for being the numero uno smart city in India, water-logging in each year’s monsoons and even torrential rains in non-monsoon seasons mocks at the sorry state of affairs of Odisha’s capital city.

Not only arterial roads are pothole-ridden, but also dismal sewerage system adds to the woes of the denizens and commuters, let alone the lanes and by-lanes.

Glaring cases in point are the national highway patches passing through this capital city linking Bhubaneswar with Puri and Bhubaneswar with Khurda and other southern Odisha districts.

Even though flyovers have been constructed and constructions of some are underway, people are reeling under the harrowing experience of water-logging and flash flooding of the service roads vulnerable to mishaps as well as posing to be lurking death traps.

The stretch from Jaydev Vihar, Nayapalli, ISKCON Temple et al and Rasulgarh Chhak To Bomikhal, Cuttack-Puri are never the sight for sore eyes.

Amazingly, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) authority based over here and the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities keep on passing the buck on each other’s alleged inaction.

In his reactions, Dharmanand Sarangi, NHAI’s chief general manager (CGM), Odisha region, said, “Whatever is within our jurisdiction we’re doing. For the choked drainage of water, we’re effecting temporary solutions. If higher level discussions will be held with BMC and State Government, the issue can be permanently resolved.”

“It’s well noticed that water-logging is at its zenith in front of ISKCON Temple. Its solution is not so easy. Further discussion with State Government is required for it,” he added.

He informed, “Matter doesn’t arise about cooperation between BMC and NHAI. We’re looking after the drainage side. It’s our duty. Wherever there is shortfall, we’re rectifying it. But, where the requisite facility of passage of the drained water from one end to the other is concerned, we’ll hold further discussion with the State Government at the higher level.”

“Water-logging on flyover is being tackled by us. The quantum of water-logging noticed a few days back has been checked. Our personnel are attending to it. We’re trying to make it foolproof,” he further informed.

On the incomplete flyover construction work, the NHAI CGM stated, “The work below the flyover is being delayed due to our concessional constraints. It will all be completed by next rainy season.”