If Ranchi's pounded roads and squalid drains had a Facebook page, they would post a phew smiley on the wall.
For, civic guardians have finally woken up from a peacefully prolonged slumber to give the capital's very basic infrastructure a much-needed makeover.
The Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has loosened its purse strings to mend pothole-riddled thoroughfares and barely-there drains, which shove a state capital aeons back in this rapid age of social networking.
Chief executive officer Dipankar Panda said they would spend Rs 8 crore on the project ' Rs 4 crore each for drain construction and road repairs. "We will lay out 42 drains and repair 88 roads. Construction of drains has already started," he said, adding that contractors were being selected through open tenders.
Civic officials conceded that barring a few roads in the city, most others had no drains alongside in what can be termed flawed urban planning.
Even the existing drains are more than two decades old. "The drainage system has not been revamped over the years, while population pressure has increased. Concrete measures should have at least been taken after Ranchi was named capital of the state of Jharkhand. That did not happen and it is about time we develop infrastructure," an official said.
He pointed out that the few drains that exist were so small or purposeless that they were not worth mentioning. Sometimes during monsoon, streaming rainwater creates natural drains, which turn into breeding grounds for mosquitoes. But, all this is set to change.
Civic workers have begun construction of drains along Purulia Road ' from Dangratoli Chowk to Kantatoli Chowk ' and Peace Road. In fact, the first project is half-complete. Arterial stretches, which still do not have drains, include Hazaribagh Road, Ratu Road, Bariatu-Jora Talab-Cheshire Home Road and Circular Road. These will be taken up soon.
"Also, roads themselves are in bad shape because they haven't seen repair in years, while vehicle pressure has mounted. We will focus on roads that are burdened, which means used by a large number of people for relatively longer stretch. These will include Bariatu-Jora Talab Road, Jail More-Karbala Chowk Road and Dipatoli-Cheshire Home Road among others. All work will be complete by the end of April," said Panda.
The RMC also wants to lay drains and raise footpaths along Birsa Munda Raj Marg ' from Ratu Road New Market junction to Bharat Mata Chowk in Harmu. "This work will cost us a good amount of money and hence, we will make separate funds allotment," the senior official added.
Notably, Jharkhand's efforts to design and execute a proper drainage system in Ranchi have been hanging fire for many years. The proposed Rs 1,800-crore plan could not be included under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission because the state failed to prepare a detailed project report on time.
Do you expect a smooth ride in Ranchi this year?