Bhubaneswar: Smart city status has sped up activity in the city of Bhubaneswar which cannot be denied from the fact that government holds regular meetings. Ambitious plans are laid out and the media regularly briefed on how the city will carve out in future. But very little has moved on ground as regards the existing problems that mars the city. Rapid encroachment of roads and land, broken roads, lack of proper drainage system and lack of solid waste disposal are a few glaring examples that not all is well in the city despite the residents being taxed. Apathy of the civic authorities towards various areas within the city is going to make it unsmart rather than making it smart.
For visitors to Bhubaneswar their movement is restricted basically to two stretches of roads which begin from the Biju Patnaik Airport to Chadrashekharpur area and the second stretch can be identified from Forest park to the Vani Vihar square. One also cannot disagree that along with these stretches there are other main roads in areas like Cuttack road, Unit IV, Unit VI, Unit VIII, Unit IX that are spotless and pothole free. There can be no denial that majority of these areas house quarters where the politicians, bureaucrats and government employees reside. For all these areas mentioned one can find that the roads are black topped every six months and well maintained. So heap of appreciations pour in from various quarters both national and international. But is Bhubaneswar city is confined to the Secretariat building and its adjoining areas?
It is a pertinent question because roads in the city are maintained both by the PWD and Municipal Corporation. For instance people under the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) area pay municipal tax and user’s fee but there still remain areas in the centre of the city where no roads have been constructed by the BMC. People reside in these areas which have uneven muddy roads that get filled with water during rains. Whose responsibility is it to construct the roads and drains? The government shouldn’t expect people to pay from their pockets to construct roads and drains. We are still in a democracy.
The government of the day needs to wake up revisit the lacunae and redress these problems also make the BMC more accountable when it comes to roads and drainage system and encroachments in the city. Because not providing basic amenities can sway minds of people in a democracy.
Monsoon rains round the corner may cause hindrances to the city dwellers especially in these areas which also comprise of the majority population of Bhubaneswar. The Chennai floods in the recent past should act as a reminder for the city civic authorities and with prediction of good monsoons in 2016 by the IMD, government should act as a wakeup call before it is too late.