Ahmedabad flooded for a week as Sabarmati level is raised for cruise
For the first time in three decades, Ahmedabad’s CG Road area and the walled old city or Ahmedabad East have been flooded. Waterlogging in these areas has created chaos with people not even being able to step out for their basic needs. The areas have remained in knee-deep water even 24 hours after rains have stopped.
Some areas — Panchvati, Ashram Road, Stadium Circle, Panjrapol crossroad, Nagri Hospital, Manek Chowk, Relief Road, and Dhalgarvad — got hit even after intermittent rain. Many underpasses in the city are still flooded. Adding to that, multiple housing societies and shops have complained of waterlogging for days together.
The reason for the flooding is said to be the raised water level in the Sabarmati river which flows through the city. The raising of the water level from its maximum capacity of 126 feet has flooded several parts of Ahmedabad and left some areas in knee-deep water for over a week.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has been maintaining the level of Sabarmati at about 128 feet over the past week to keep the newly launched ‘Akshar river cruise’ running in view of the G20 meet. Last week, the civic body raised the level of water to 134.75 feet so that foreign delegates attending the U20 Mayoral Summit can dine in the floating restaurant on the Sabarmati.
The river cruise service was launched on July 2 this year ahead of the G20 meeting. The new cruise service launched for sightseeing around the city has been in middle of a controversy since Ahmedabad has been unexpectedly waterlogged.
Reportedly, during the launch, the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corp Ltd (SRFDCL) maintained by the AMC had requested the irrigation officer to maintain the water level of the river at 134.5 feet around the Vasna Barrage area for the cruise can be properly tested ahead of the G20 meet.
Consequently, the high-water level of Sabarmati has left no space for rainwater to be released in the river through storm water and other drainage networks.
“The raising of the water level has resulted in failure of the storm water drainage network, leaving various areas of Ahmedabad in knee deep water. This situation has risen owing to the new cruise service on Sabarmati,” said an AMC official of the engineering department requesting anonymity.
“To keep the cruise ship afloat, the level of the river has to be kept high. A low water level may cause it to get stranded. The water level in Sabarmati and Vasna barrage is being kept at 134 feet now. Because of this, the rainwater of city is not getting dispersed as the water level is now higher than the city’s storm drainage system. As the river is full, drain water is flowing back and several areas are in knee deep water,” the official added.
According to the official, Ahmedabad lacks a complete dedicated stormwater line. Naturally, heavy rains put enormous load on the drainage system. The drainage system carries nearly 2,000 MLD water per day and the rains only add to this, resulting in waterlogging.
Ahmedabad needs a dedicated storm water line “but currently we have a dedicated drainage system that covers only 30 per cent of the city. The city has 900 km of dedicated stormwater drainage line against a needed 3,400 km. In Ahmedabad East (which is the old walled heritage city), the drainage system is old but very effective as compared to Ahmedabad West (the new planned city that is part of Smart City Project)”, the official said.
Jatin Desai, the Chairman of the water supply and sewage committee, AMC, whose car got stuck in flooded street in Navrangpura area last month, had identified 142 spots in the city that are prone to water logging. Most of them fall in Ahmedabad West.
Meanwhile, the MLA of Ellisbridge Assembly seat, has written to M Thenarssan, the Municipal Commissioner of AMC, and demanded that the water level of Sabarmati be kept at 128 feet. Ellisbridge is one of the many areas of the city that have been flooded for days.
The Akshar River Cruise Service on the Sabarmati was virtually inaugurated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on July 2 this year.
Developed by the AMC and Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corp Ltd, the cruise is claimed to be the first passenger catamaran built under the Make in India project. The 30-meter cruise ship was made at a cost of Rs 15 crore with two engines to enabling it for a two-and-a-half hour non-stop ride.
The ship that has a capacity of 165 passengers. It has a restaurant aboard that serves only vegetarian and Jain food.
The beautification of the river front along the Sabarmati and turning it into a tourist spot has a pet project of Narendra Modi since he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. “The cruise is a gift from the Gujarat government to the residents of Ahmedabad,” Amit Shah had said.