Just 3mm rain brings Noida to a halt

Despite tall claims, Noida authority failed to clean its 14 big and small drains before rains hit

Many areas in the city, such as Jalvayu Vihar in Sector 25, were flooded after the rain on Thursday morning.
Many areas in the city, such as Jalvayu Vihar in Sector 25, were flooded after the rain on Thursday morning.

The city on Thursday morning received five hours of rain measuring just 3mm, according to the meteorological department. However, it was enough to keep residents either marooned in their homes surrounded by water or stuck for hours in traffic jams on waterlogged roads.

The amount of waterlogging seen in the city on Thursday is the result of a lack of a preparedness by the Noida authority. It didn’t work on its proposal to prepare a comprehensive drainage and rainwater harvesting master plan and neither did its health department clean drains properly before the monsoon.

On June 23, district magistrate BN Singh had inspected the city’s drains and expressed surprise at the shoddy work as they were filled with plastic and garbage. On June 24, the authority claimed that 70% of the city’s drains were cleaned and the rest would be done by June 30. However, as Thursday’s waterlogging showed, the health department did not clean the drains.

A majority of the city’s important roads, underpasses, and residential and industrial pockets were severely waterlogged. The worst-affected were office goers as they were stuck in three-four-hour long traffic jams at Model Town T-point underpass, Rajnigandha underpass and Sector 37, among other areas. The authority’s Sector 6 building and adjoining areas were themselves waterlogged.

This year, the authority also failed to hire around 120 small private contractors who used to clean smaller drains every year.

“One of the major reasons of waterlogging is that a newly set-up regulator on the irrigation drain at Sector 168 was half closed, thereby choking the drain. We opened the regulator gate and drained the rainwater into the Yamuna,” said Rakesh Kumar Mishra, additional CEO, Noida.

The main irrigation drain passing through Noida starts in East Delhi and merges into the Yamuna river at Sector 168, taking with it rainwater from Delhi and Noida. The UP irrigation department had this year set up a regulator at Sector 168 to prevent flood water from the river entering Noida.

“During rain, the regulator gate should be opened so that rainwater drains into river. However, due to poor coordination among Noida authority and irrigation department officials, half of the gate remained closed, leading to waterlogging,” said a senior Noida official.

“The authority keeps resurfacing the roads every year without removing the bitumen layer. Hence, the road level keeps increasing as compared to the surface of the houses. If the houses are at a lower level, naturally the rainwater will enter houses. Some sectors also have gradient-related issues. The authority discusses waterlogging issues during rain and forgets it later,” said Atul Gupta, urban town planner and president of the architects’ association, Noida zone.

Amit Mohan Prasad, chief executive officer, Noida authority, said, “I conducted inspections in sectors 18, 63 and many other areas and asked my staff to take steps to address waterlogging issues. I have directed officials to prepare a master plan for the drainage system so that such issues do not trouble residents next year. We will also ensure that a rainwater harvesting plan is made.”
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