Patna: After over 14 days, the state capital became free from water logging, thanks to the herculean efforts by the men and machines from Gevra coal mines in Chhattisgharh.
They worked for 23 hours daily, one hour left for service of the high-power pumps draining out water at the rate of 1,500 gallons per minute. In last two weeks, the accumulated water had turned black and the liberated people said, “We are free from Kaala Pani, thanks to the fitters, mechanics and foremen from Gevra mines.”
The five pumps from Gevra had reached here on September 27 evening following instructions from Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauva. Union Law, Justice and IT Minister Ravishankar Prasad who represents Patna Saheb, the worst affected area, contacted Gauva, his junior at Patna University and sought his assistance to free Patna from water-logging as the 32 pumping sets of the Patna Municipal Corporation were out of order.
Within 24 hours, the pumps with mechanics, fitters and foremen reached Patna and were put on operation at Saidpur Nalla, Bahadurpur, and Pahadi areas.
Two were installed at Saidpur to drain out water from Rajendranagar, where deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, five judges of Patna High Court, families of top bureaucrats of the country were stranded as water was flowing 6 to ten feet on the roads. Entire ground floor in these areas were submerged.
Makarandhwaj Banzara, head foreman from Gevra coal mines, told The Free Press Journal, “We missed Durga Puja in our family, but worked hard to ensure some relief to the residents of Patna to celebrate the festival.”
He said the machines were operated for 23 hours daily and workers toiled in three shifts of eight hours each. No arrangement was made by the state government authorities for their accommodation, food or transport.
The Coal India Limited arranged everything including diesel, gas cutters, and spare parts which were brought from Kolkata and Dhanbad.
One of the high-power pumps developed problem as the garbage in one of the drainage choked the rotter of the machine and damaged it. Engineers who reached from Bilaspur refused to repair and decided to send the machine back to Bilaspur.
Foremen Mulridhar Rathod, R S Devangan, Fitters Sunny Ram, Manoj Singh, Ram Sai and Lakhan Lal and mechanic Alok Mishra who came from Gevra said they had sleepless nights in the first few days as the water level was ten feet in certain areas and faced difficulties in installing the machines.
One of the machines were installed on sand bags at Saidpur on the instructions of of one of the secretaries to the chief minister, S Sidharth.