The foundation day of Bhubaneswar is celebrated on April 13. It was on this day in 1948 that India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had laid the foundation-stone for the new city. Bhubaneswar’s transformation from an ancient temple town to a modern city was executed by German architect and planner Dr Otto H Koenigsberger. In the winning city proposal for Smart City, Bhubaneswar got the top place in the central list of first 20 cities.
For the past three decades, Bhubaneswar city has been experiencing high population growth and climate change. The city has now undergone various transformations and constant changes of the land use pattern.
In Bhubaneswar, the fast growing population is creating sprawl effect in the adjacent agricultural and other vacant open spaces. The built up areas in the entire city has increased noticeably and the open land has decreased considerably.
Now-a-days rapid urban sprawl and urban development activities in Bhubaneswar created environmental complications. The Chandaka forest area has been disastrously deforested. Prevailing micro climate deteriorated. Bhubaneswar has become one of the hottest Indian cities in recent times. Extremely high increase in average monthly mean maximum temperature, increase in the number of hot days and rising temperature difference between Bhubaneswar and the nearby cities provide an impression of gradual emergence of the city as an urban heat island. Climate change is expected to lead warmer temperatures, particularly in urban environment due to heat island effect (summer day-time temperatures can reach up to 6°C hotter in Bhubaneswar city than in surrounding rural areas and between 3-4°C warmer at night), resulting in greater variability in local conditions which are likely to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of such extreme events in unpredictable ways. Heat waves can affect communities by increasing summer-time peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Increased daytime temperatures, reduced night time cooling and higher air pollution levels associated with urban heat islands can affect human health.
Built up environment has increased the rainfall run off, leading to water inundation problems in many parts of the city. A number of temples in old town area of Bhubanewar such as Megheswar Temple, Vaital Temple etc. are under serious threat of water logging problems.
Besides, a number of wards also have water logging problems. The areas such as Acharya Bihar, Jayadev Bihar, Chandrasekharpur, Salia Sahi (slum), GGP Colony, Dumuduma, Satya Nagar, Laxmisagar, Bamikhal, Old Town, Mancheswar, VSS Nagar, Sundarpada, Patia and Raghunathpur are regularly experiencing localized flooding during rainy season.
This is due to the overflowing drainage channels and faulty drainage network in the area. Bhubaneswar city has an undulating ridge and valley topology and is covered by a number of natural drainage channels. Due to rapid growth in infrastructure, encroachment and dumping of debris, the natural carrying capacity of these drains has been reduced considerably. The reduced carrying capacity creates barriers to the natural flow of water during heavy rains. Apart from urban flooding and heat wave, the city lies in seismic zone III, which is a moderate seismic risk zone.
In Bhubaneswar, the Composite Vulnerability Index (CVI) categorizes the city into high, medium, and low vulnerability areas. Wards with high CVI need priority interventions. Spatial analysis between location of slum pockets and the CVI shows wards with high CVI have more than 50 per cent of the slum pockets. There are 436 slum pockets spread across the city, which have a total population of 80,630. Of the 436 slum pockets, only 116 are notified ones. The slums are small pockets and dispersed across the city.
The impact of disasters will continue to grow as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Bhubaneswar city has prepared its City Disaster Management Plan (CDMP) for the city and City Development Plan (CDP) developed in the year 2011-12. The CDP is a comprehensive plan with city vision plan for development of all sectors taking into consideration the city’s growth. Therefore, the hazard risk map of the city should be included in CDP.
Taking into consideration the growth in the city, there is a need to remove encroachment of natural drains as this helps in mitigating urban flooding/ water logging problem of the city. Storm water network for the entire city should be prepared and existing storm water drains should be cleaned at regular intervals. There is a need for storm water management by prevention of encroachments, periodic maintenance, and land use regulations. Before any change of land use and infrastructure development, priority must be given to design of storm water drainage. Storm water drainage system must respond to water catchment area, quantum of hard surface, quantum of water quantity and quantum of water discharge and site topography.
To reduce the effect of heat wave the design specifications should take into account guidelines on the design of climate responsive green buildings. Green cover should be further improved in the city. Land use and infrastructure development plans of the city needs to take into the consideration of short and long- term climate change trends.
For earthquake risk mitigation measures all the residential, commercial and industrial buildings should be evaluated for their structural safety in a phased manner and appropriate retrofitting measures should be taken up from building code perspectives. There is a need to review and enforce strict building codes and by laws compliance in design and construction of various types of new buildings and infrastructure.
Hazard mapping can be used for analysis of different areas. This helps in identifying areas that are prone to various hazards – both in terms of intensity and in terms of probability. This also facilitates the city in taking appropriate site-specific short, medium, and long-term mitigation measures, which include both structural and non-structural measures. It would also help the city administration to mainstream DRR activities in the city development process. Bhubaneswar city has been selected as one of the eight cities in India for implementing the Climate Risk Management Project on a pilot basis under the framework of the Urban Disaster Risk Reduction project of Government of India (GOI)-UNDP. The ongoing GOI-UNDP Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme aims to strengthen the capacities of Government, communities and institutional structures by undertaking DRR activities at various levels and develop preparedness for recovery.
The building codes of the city need to be reviewed in light of the hazards in the region. There should be a mechanism in the city to monitor the adherence to building codes and land use norms to improve urban resilience. Some areas can be easily identified but some areas have to be identified by survey and collection of past data. A number of methods can be adopted for dealing with disaster risk prone areas.
It is necessary to specify the land use zoning for various developmental purposes. All areas should be designed as per the relevant Indian Standards and the Building Byelaws. However building codes, zoning measures and urban planning techniques are difficult to enforce when people occupy land illegally. Therefore illegal encroachment of land should be restricted.