30 Jun 2024

Ayodhya's Infrastructure: Hasty Development Leading to Waterlogging, Cave-ins; Are Locals Disillusioned; What They Feel?

The construction of the Rampath corridor in Ayodhya, completed on January 22 this year, was timed to precede the inauguration of the much-anticipated Ram temple. The project's cost, as per government figures, amounted to approximately Rs 624 crore. 

The extensive spending and promises of Ayodhya's development, however, are now overshadowed by issues of waterlogging and sinking roads, raising concerns among locals and questioning the quality of the hasty construction work.

Many residents believe that the rush to complete the development projects in time for the temple's inauguration compromised the quality of the construction. 

Over ten road cave-ins have occurred on Rampath

Reports indicate that over ten road cave-ins have occurred on the newly constructed Rampath in Ayodhya, which was built in preparation for the widely publicized consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple. This temple was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 22.

In addition to the issues on Rampath, waterlogging has been reported in various parts of the city, including the road leading to the newly constructed railway station.

This monsoon season marks the first since the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple and the completion of several other infrastructure projects in the city.

On Friday, six officials from the Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department (PWD) and the Jal Nigam were suspended following orders from Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath due to the road cave-ins and waterlogging on the newly built Rampath. 

Cracks in shop and house

Rajesh Kumar, who runs a grocery shop, is one such resident affected by these substandard developments. The drain in front of his house on Ayodhya Dham Station Road has been left incomplete for over a month, resulting in cracks in his house and shop due to accumulated rainwater. This situation has left his family apprehensive even before the full onset of the monsoon.

Aditya Malviya, a building material shop owner on the same road, shares similar grievances. A drain dug and left incomplete in front of his shop has led to significant water accumulation, causing soil erosion that threatens the stability of his shop. Despite lodging complaints on the Chief Minister's portal, no action has been taken. He remarks that such heavy water accumulation is unprecedented, with just two hours of rain causing considerable trouble.

Normal rains have led to such severe waterlogging

Social activist Gufran Siddiqui highlights the historical significance of Ayodhya and Faizabad, cities renowned for their traditional architecture and development. He said that this is the first time in living memory that normal rains have led to such severe waterlogging, attributing it to the superficial show of grandeur in the media. Siddiqui questions how a project completed merely three months ago could already exhibit five potholes per kilometer.

Deep potholes and water accumulation at main entrance of Ram Mandir

The waterlogging issue is not confined to residential areas. Deep potholes and water accumulation were observed at the main entrance of the Ram Mandir complex, and the Ayodhya Municipal Corporation office and nearby shops and houses were similarly affected. 

Kamlesh Kumar, an employee at the Municipal Corporation, was seen pumping water out of the office, a task he asserts was never undertaken during previous rains. According to Kumar, the RNC company responsible for the road construction blocked the old drain with soil without connecting it to the new drain in the middle of the Rampath road, resulting in severe waterlogging even with minimal rain.

Entire Jalwanpura locality is flooded

The Jalwanpura area, located a mere hundred meters from the Ram Mandir, has historically faced challenges during the rainy season, but the current situation is unprecedented. Urvashi, who runs a tea-snack shop in a rented house in Jalwanpura, explains that her shop and the entire locality are flooded. Her previous shop, situated on Ram Path next to the Ram Mandir, was demolished during road widening. Kiran expresses her frustration and fear as her shop is now filled with water, complicating daily activities and leaving her pleas to the administration unanswered.

Water pumping sets are a common sight in Ayodhya

The critical question arises whether the beautification and development efforts under the Central Government's Swadesh Darshan Yojana can be deemed sustainable in the long run. Before the Ram Mandir inauguration, the city was abuzz with the sounds of construction machinery. Now, pumping sets are a common sight, struggling to remove accumulated water from homes and roads following the first rain after the temple's Pran Pratishtha ceremony.

Between June 23 and June 28, waterlogging was prominently seen at the main gate of Ram Mandir and various other areas including Jalwanpura, Gaddopur industrial area, Karsevakpuram, and Civil Lines. Flooding was not limited to residential areas; numerous government offices were also affected.

Such extensive waterlogging in Ayodhya and Faizabad was unheard of

Local residents recall that except for areas near the Saryu River, such extensive waterlogging in Ayodhya and Faizabad was unheard of. The city's mayor, Mahant Girishpati Tripathi, affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, acknowledges that Rampath is an achievement but admits to engineering flaws. He attributes the potholes and waterlogging to potential technical shortcomings due to the rushed construction aimed at meeting the inauguration deadline. Tripathi assures that these issues will be rectified under the current government, with Ayodhya Municipal Corporation preparing to handle heavier rains.

Rampath still under the defect liability period

Om Prakash Verma, an Additional Engineer in the Public Works Department (PWD), informs the media that the Rampath is still under the defect liability period. This means that any problems arising during this period will be addressed by the construction agency itself.

In conclusion, while the development and beautification of Ayodhya were intended to prepare the city for the global spotlight during the Ram Mandir inauguration, the hasty execution has led to significant infrastructural problems. The waterlogging and structural issues have not only inconvenienced the residents but also raised questions about the sustainability and quality of these developments. The local administration and government now face the challenge of addressing these flaws and ensuring that Ayodhya's development is truly durable and effective in the long run.

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