Odisha government orders municipal officers to ensure accident-free roads and covered drains during monsoon

Bhubaneswar: In view of public safety during the 2022 monsoon, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha on Tuesday ordered the authorities of all urban areas in the state to carry out ground verification to ensure safe accident-free roads and covered drains.

H&UD Department Principal Secretary G. Mathi Vathanan in a letter to Municipal Corporations Commissioners and leaders of all municipalities and NACs said that instructions have been repeatedly issued to resume regular desanding of drains by the respective authorities. Road & Drain agencies to ensure the free flow of rainwater during the rainy season.

“It has been made clear to all concerned that all drains under the jurisdiction of your local urban body, with the exception of the main open drains, should have been covered with slabs and vulnerable points should have been covered with netting with a prominent written warning on said points to warn people of the danger,” he added.

It is also important to properly replace/repair drain covers or inspection chambers on roads/drains to avoid accidents. It is noted that during or after de-sanding or maintenance work, the openings are not properly covered, leading to accidents when the place is flooded during heavy rains. There have been cases of accidents with a few fatalities in the past, evoking strong public reaction, causing unfavorable media reports and also giving the government a bad name. They also lead to cases brought before the Human Rights Commission and the courts.

Now that the monsoon has already hit the state, it is time for the administration to go into execution mode to ensure that the instructions issued in this regard are fully adhered to by the respective agencies/officials. We note that several organizations such as the ULB, the Works Department, the Water Resources Department, the IDCO, the NHAI, etc., have their roads and sewers and are responsible for respecting the above instructions to ensure that their roads and sewers do not become death traps. during urban flooding in the monsoon period. It is therefore the responsibility of the ULB with the Mayor/President elected at the head of affairs to enforce the instructions of the Government issued in the public interest.

You are therefore requested to instruct all subordinate agencies/officials in charge of road and sewer maintenance to re-check the roads and sewers through field inspection and then to carry out periodic inspection on a regular basis and provide a certificate to the effect that “all roads and drains under their respective jurisdiction and administrative control have been physically inspected and it is hereby certified that all openings and chambers inspection points are properly closed and all dangerous places are properly guarded and safety signs are erected and there are no more dangerous places endangering public safety,” reads the the letter.

“These certificates can be obtained from all field officers countersigned by their supervising officers from all relevant agencies/departments and they can be shared with the ward committee which is headed by the respective corporators/advisors with a ward officer and other members including Mission Sakthi groups/federations from the respective neighborhood areas for field cross-checking and corrective follow-up actions by ULBs to ensure public roads and sewers always remain safe,” a- he added.

“To ensure prompt action in this matter, it is resolved that certificates from all departmental agencies/agents may be obtained by June 30, 2022, and compiled certificates relating to wards are sent to ward committees by July 1, 2022. Compliance with this Department instruction must be sent by July 10, 2022 without fail,” the letter continues.

Melissa C. Keyes