02 Oct 2019
Why Patna suffered acute crisis? Blame the old drainage system
The visuals from Bihar's capital Patna have been worrisome, to say the least. Millions of residents were stranded on rooftops, without food, water, and electricity, as their houses remained submerged.
Even posh localities weren't "safe" from the trauma with many locals venting out their frustration on social media.
Amid the distress, a TOI report has blamed Patna's drainage system for the woes.
For last 51 years, Patna didn't get new drainage system
Since 1968, no new drainage system was built in Patna. The city expanded, its population increased, but no one paid attention to planning.
Patna has 535 drains. These include nine big drains, 14 medium, and 172 small ones. These drains are connected to 38 sump houses, which discharge 10,600 million liters of water per day to adjacent rivers.
This has clearly not been enough.
Further, plastic material clogs drains, making water discharge difficult
Suresh Sharma, the state urban development and housing department minister, told the daily that only a couple of new drains have been constructed in newly-developed residential areas.
He said plastic material clogs the drains, making water discharge difficult but assured things will get better.
All nine big drains will be covered with grates which will help sanitation workers pick out plastic, he explained.
In 1975, Patna residents dealt with the same problem
The last time Patna was hit by such a disaster was in 1975. But much has changed since then.
Back then, the population was 8 lakh. Today, it stands at 20 lakh.
As per reports, the population density of Patna is 2,475 persons per square kilometer. To give you a perspective, Bihar's population density is 880 persons per square kilometer.
No one paid heed to drainage system: Official
To note, Bihar State Pollution Control Board chairman, Ashok Kumar Ghosh told TOI that the drainage system wasn't sufficient to deal with such an "astronomical rise" in population.
"Besides, the growth of newer areas in the state capital, whether towards the west or east, has been done in an unplanned manner with no provisions of proper drainage lines in many new localities," he added.
On bright side, two new plants could solve Patna's problems
Fortunately, the administration has turned its attention towards the problem. In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stones for sewerage treatment plants (STPs) in Beur and Karmalichak.
These two STPs will collectively treat 80 million liter of sewage per day, as opposed to the existing 24 MLD.
Obviously, the residents are hoping the construction gets completed at earliest.
Too little, too late.
The disaster was waiting to happen
"The saucer-shaped city has a mild slope from north to south. Besides, it is surrounded by the Ganga in the north, Punpun in west and Sone in the east," Ghosh said, and reiterated that poor planning makes water-logging inevitable in case of heavy rains.