Vinod Anand | 10 Aug 2013

OVERFLOWING RIVERS IN ALLAHABAD (VINOD ANAND) Both the Ganga and the Yamuna seem to be in an angry mood. And the local administration is finding it difficult to cope with their anger. Why are the rivers angry? In all likelihood, their fury can be traced to the hurdles that the administrators have treated in their freedom to move freely across the vast span of land that was previousl9 available for them but which has now been swallowed by the constructions that have come up most thoughtlessly, most callously, totally flouting the reality of the situation. And I will not blame just the present set of cold-hearted bureaucrats who have left no brick unturned to pile up one on top of the other to make multiplexes unmindful of their thoughtless actions which are causing misery to millions. I will begin with blaming the bureaucrats of yester years. In those days there was no ADA. In those days there was no recognized system of showering Suvidha Shulk on the officials either, tempting them to become corrupt, as we see things taking shape today? But they too succumbed to the pressure of the builders’ lobby without apparently exercising their brain power to foresee the consequences of their initial blunders. Once these blunders started, they went on and on. And today we find the city a gross victim of administrative blunders if not deliberate laxity motivated by the ugly desire to mint money without accountability. Let me mention Allahpur as an example. / take you back to early 1960s. The whole of that area was deserted and haunted after dusk because there was nothing around except plain land. Those who would take shortcut from Ta gore Town to Daraganj via the Allahapur maidan, would say that it needed courage to pass through that way after dusk in day time too one hardly saw anyone except eagles, kites and hawks hovering above the spot below where dead animals were being skinned. The vultures and crows could also be seen ready to pounce to claw out bits of rotten flesh that might still be sticking to the discarded bones. During monsoon, the area would often get flooded and was seen the frozen brim, especially when flood water crossed the Bandh. But no official lost his sleep as this was totally an uninhabited area. When it was known that Allahapur was a flood-prone area, why was it allowed to be converted into a residential and commercial complex? Now when the area is flooded, pumping sets have to be rushed to remove the water. Several precautions might have been taken to stop the ravaging waters from reaching the spots where the level was suitably raised to make them less dangerous. If the builders were allowed to turn Allahapur into a housing-cum -residential colony, why wasn’t it ensured that anti-flood measures were compulsorily enforced? The ADA came on the scene many years later. Till then the haphazard growth had become a reality, in this very Allahapur some years ago we saw boats plying to rescue people calling out for help from their housetops as the lower portions of the buildings were under water. The newspapers have been full of pictures about the flooded areas with houses in hundreds submerged. The Ganga had almost reached Rajapur. I recall the 1948 floods when I was a school boy. My elders took us for sightseeing. There was near-Mela of spectators on the’ Muir Road a little beyond the Traffic police crossing. We saw water of the Ganga hitting the edges of the road. But, there was no panic as the marshy land was not encroached upon by the builders lobby. The British had left only a year earlier so that the norms of discipline followed by them were still in vogue. What was then a unique sight-seeing spot has today turned into panicky land. The reason is obvious. The building lobby did not spare the marshy land too from their lust and greed. The result is there for, all to see. In other areas also the marshy land has been used for building houses by the people, The houses in Chota Baghara locality wouldn’t have found considerable portions of the structures under water if the owners had chosen to be cautious and not rushed in to make a dwelling in the danger-prone area. Who is responsible for this? Obviously the Nagar Nigam and the ADA which did nothing to stop the people from turning a dangerous flood-prone marshy land into a housing colony. The ADA and Nagar Nigam have committed a grave sin against the city. What is still worse they hardly do anything to help the marooned people. Every year we hear the same story. The pumps are out of order. They are being sent for repairs. When the hell do they go out of order when they are hardly ever seen in use?     PAGE  PAGE 1