68 water drains remained choked, no headaway over past decade

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Shimla, June 15: The city’s about 68 storm water drains (nullahs), which also recharge water sources, have remained choked over the decades because the Rs 70-crore storm water drains channelisation project has made no headway over the past decade. Now, the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) has mulled this project under the AMRUT and Smart City missions.

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These drains are choked with trash, junk, weeds and construction debris being dumped illegally by builders even as the city celebrated 150 years of its existence in 2016.“These nullahs used to supply water to nearby villages and were neat and clean,” recalled a 90-year-old city resident. “But today these nullahs stink, baolis are polluted and look like garbage dumps because of the burgeoning population and concretisation of the town over the decades,” she rued.

The condition of storm water drains is worsening every year as the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) rejected the project proposed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) by the SMC. The minister had sought change in design demanding design on the basis of maximum discharge in the storm water drains during the rains, which was not available with the SMC,” revealed municipal project engineers.

Outgoing Shimla Mayor Sanjay Chauhan said they had included storm water channelisation project under both AMRUT and Smart City mission proposals to the MoUD. The SMC tried concrete roofing over some of drains that run through the Lift, main bazaar and other more problematic drains to collect garbage dumped on the roofs. But the problem still plagues most drains as trash and junk still remained unsolved.

The SMC had proposed this project to treat and restore the city’s 68 nullahs under JNNURM. But with the change of guard at the Centre in 2014, the SMC’s project was rejected and it just fizzed out, informed SMC engineers. Schoolchildren crossing the Kangnadhar nullah in New Shimla face stench and piles of night-soil daily as it still is used as an open defecation spot by labourers.

So is the case with Sanjauli the bypass nullah near Sanjauli college and Shimla bypss nullahs coming from Engine Ghar and Sangti to Housing board colonies.Despite a blanket ban on the use of plastic in the state, the city’s nullahs bear the brunt of illegal dumping of trash, junk and construction debris, dumped under cover of darkness.

Source Tribune India

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