ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mismanaging Floods

Distorted infrastructural development has undoubtedly been an important reason for the floods this monsoon in Ahmedabad. The desultory response of the local authority only heightened the loss it caused.

The incessant heavy rains this monsoon have resulted in heavy damage to property and loss of about 20 lives in Ahmedabad. This time the entire city has been affected but the damage is more on the eastern periphery that was incorporated within municipal limit in 1986. This area still does not have adequate centralised infrastructure services like storm water drainage, sewage network, drinking water pipelines and roads. While the floods in the early 1970s were caused by the rising waters of Sabarmati, this time it is rain (more than 60 per cent of the annual average rainfall in two days) and inadequate service network that has resulted in floods.

The present floods have underlined the lack of disaster planning in cities like Ahmedabad. The situation is more serious in areas outside the municipal limit as these areas are dependent on the municipal corporation for disposal of storm water and sewage. Bodakdev area under the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority Area (AUDA) was the worst affected and it forced the authorities to break the Sarkhej Gandhinagar highway to release floodwaters. The municipal pumping stations in Vasna with a capacity of 30 lakh gallons of sewage per hour could not carry the load because of various reasons. According to AMC officials it was working 50 per cent higher than its peak hour capacity as huge quantity of water was coming from AUDA area. According to the present agreement AMC was to provide 10 drainage connections to AUDA on payment of a fee. However, only six such connections have materialised. Under this agreement AUDA is suppose to pay Rs 52 lakh to AMC every three months as a disposal charge.

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