Bhubaneswar, May 17
The Central government is yet to approve an ambitious project for Odisha which aims at developing a robust storm water drainage system in urban areas.
Odisha needs at least Rs 3,700 crore for improvement of storm water drainage system in urban areas. A large number of drainage systems in Odisha’s urban areas have collapsed resulting in flooding. Such situation has become common in major cities of the State including Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Puri and Cuttack.
Lack of environmental considerations in city planning and unauthorized construction has led to blocking of natural drainage system. The State government as per Service Level Improvement Plan (SLIP) under AMRUT scheme had submitted a project at a cost of Rs 3,700 crore for development of storm water drainage systems in AMRUT cities. This was done to achieve benchmark service in these cities. However even after repeated requests, the Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Development is yet to approve the project.
In these towns both storm water as well as waste water is required to be taken into consideration for planning and design of drainage system. Proper disposal of surplus rainwater is essential to avoid water logging problems and keeping in view the projected rate of urbanization, a 50-year planning has been done. However, sources said the projects are not getting through even as development of storm water drainage in urban zones is getting costlier.
Looking at the growing demand, the State government had approached the MoHUD to approve a special plan for storm water drainage in AMRUT cities as these areas have been deprived of special funds. Similarly another proposal to provide financial support for implementation of municipal cadre in Odisha is yet to be given green signal from the Centre.
In order to ensure better urban governance, faster project implementation and efficient municipal administration, a dedicated municipal cadre is needed. Failure of municipal administration has often been attributed to the absence of a well organized urban cadre. The financial burden for grounding municipal cadre in the State is high as a result of which Central support is needed. While State government is moving ahead and taking steps to improve services in the urban areas, it had requested the Union government to provide Rs 86 crore additional funding annually and total Rs 430 crore for an initial period of five years.
Sources said that the Centre is yet to provide financial assistance for implementing municipal cadre in the State. Members of Parliament from Odisha have raised the issue with the Central authorities and pressed for provision of assistance for implementing municipal cadre system in the State, said sources.