Sudden Inundation - arkadutta

Sudden Inundation

It is perhaps the most visited place in the city of Kolkata, India. Kalighat. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists come here every day, all-round the year to the famous Kalighat temple. This is a very old neighbourhood with that typical old Calcutta charm, nestled on the banks of “Aadi Ganga” (old Ganga), which is believed to be the older course of the river Ganga. Today, however, it is a small canal connected to main river, its water murky and muddy from urban pollution.

However, every year during the perigean spring tides, this small canal, its surge getting multiplied during monsoon, overflows its muddy water and floods onto the low lying Kalighat area. The whole area get overwhelmed by waist and chest deep water, and main Kalighat road comes almost to a standstill. Shops are closed, traffic stops, people abandon their homes for 6-7 hours. Normal life and business is thrown out of gear and people  wade through the waterlogged streets to get their works done. Majority of the people residing beside the canal are belong to low or lower-middle income group and they face severe problem. Many of the houses are built right on the banks of canal and these get worst affected. In these homes people put 3-4 bricks under their furniture, appliances to raise them from the floor level and save them from water but in most occasions, that does not help. In some pockets the water is even almost 6.5 feet deep rendering them completely inaccessible. The main cause of this problem is that this stretch of old congested neighbourhood is lower than the canal level and thus gets flooded year after year during the spring tide. The area lacks proper infrastructure, poor urban planning and age old drainage system adds to the trouble. Sewers were tried to be dredged and upgraded but it had proved to be a difficult task due to the congested nature of the area. Thus, each year people of this area keep on facing this sudden inundation and cope up with the trouble it causes.

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