The department zeroed in on the problem after a stretch of Elgin Road remained under water for hours following a brief spell of rain a couple of days back. After storm water refused to recede near Sambhunath Pandit Hospital on Thursday afternoon, a KMC team scanned every drainage outlet thoroughly and found several gully pits choked. A deeper look revealed they were choked by construction debris.
The civic team of engineers sent an SOS to the headquarters and requested for blow-vac desilting machines to clear the debris. “It was a difficult task for us. After engaging a desilting gang and pressing into service modern machines, we finally succeeded in clearing the clogged drains. The task took an entire night,” said a KMC drainage department official.
According to him, construction debris has become a major threat to civic employees engaged in the pre-monsoon desilting drive being undertaken across the city. “In some areas, such as Garden Reach, Kidderpore, Behala and Tollygunge, construction activities have damaged some of our gully pits permanently,” he said. The areas where construction debris has adversely affected the drainage network also include Dum Dum, MG Road, Chittaranjan Avenue, Burrabazar, Bhowanipore, Alipore, Behala and areas off EM Bypass.
“It is hardly possible for the manual gang to clear construction wastes thrown into gully pits. We need machines like jetting-cum-suction or blow-vac to bring out these debris. Sometimes, even machines fail to suck the entire amount out,” an executive engineer in the KMC drainage department said.
According to the engineer, plastic waste is also leading to waterlogging. “Tonnes of plastic waste are cleared from the gully pits every day. Storm water carry these wastes to the drainage pumping stations and make the pumps defunct,” he added.
Tarak Singh, the member mayor-in-council overseeing the KMC drainage department, has instructed civic drainage officials to carry out a special desilting drive in all waterlogging-prone areas, keeping in view a warning of heavy rainfall in the next 24 hours. “We have deployed our manpower in areas where water tend to accumulate during the rain. Machines are being pressed into service to lift silt from clogged drains before monsoon officially sets in,” a civic official said.