Bhopal Smart City drowns in 2006 re-run

The status of city’s civic infrastructure lay bare when 111 mm of rain paralysed the state capital.

BHOPAL: Eight hours of overnight rain washed away the hype of Bhopal Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) claim of turning Bhopal into a Smart City. Experts say BMC’s pathetic planning and inefficient administration triggered the devastation. Besides chaotic real estate development, the city’s water bodies and wetlands which suck rainwater have been encroached upon or reclaimed to build high-rises.

The status of city’s civic infrastructure lay bare when 111 mm of rain paralysed the state capital. It was deja vu for many city residents who feared a repeat of flash floods of 2006. Boats were again seen on flooded streets of the state capital. Areas near the Bhopal railway station coach factory – Mahamai ka Bagh and Dwarka Nagar were submerged.

While civic officials blamed weather, its apathy was first exposed by Swaahh Bharat mission, which highlighted a lack of waste management practices and drainage network in Bhopal.

Nearly 80% of city functions without a proper drainage network, going by urban administration experts. “We have been intimated about the situation. Illegal and unplanned urbanisation is a major cause of the current situation. The city needs a master plan at the earliest or the situation would get worse,” said a retired urban administration official.

Two major areas that can tear into Bhopal’s smart city dream have been long identified – waste management and drainage system. No lessons have been learnt from 2006. Bhopal witnessed a construction boom over the last decade has not been able to develop a matching civic infrastructure, he said. Then a cloudburst like rainfall had submerged Banganga area and the stop dam towards EME Centre had given way.



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