Oct 30 , 2022

Municipal authorities of Dukem, 35Km east of the capital, are mulling over selecting consulting firms to design a master plan and develop feasibility studies to fend off recurrent floods threatening the lives of the town's residents.

However, sharp disagreements over mandates have emerged between the municipal authorities of the town and officials of the Oromiya Urban Planning Institute. The latter opposed the new plant, convinced that the city's revised masterplan incorporated detailed structural designs for a drainage system as part of a local development plan for five towns, including a road network design.

"Water drainage system is one component of the city's master plan, and we provided it," Ahmed Tofik, deputy general manager of the Institute, told Fortune. "The city's administration is slothful in implementing the already provided design."

Ahmed believes the master plan remains valid for 10 years, arguing only his Institution has the mandate to provide revised design plans. He challenged the municipal authorities' moves to revise the master plan without the Institute’s consent.

"They'll be held accountable for it," he warned.

However, the municipal authorities remain adamant about foreseeing the construction of a rainwater drainage system with funds they hope could be secured from the town's administration. They want to hire consultants to develop a master plan that was revised five years ago, incorporating the town's development and serving for 50 years.

Located on the Addis Abeba-Adama (Nazareth) highway, Dukem earned its name from a river nearby. It serves as an administrative centre for the Aqaqi Wereda, hosting a train station for the Ethio-Djibouti Railway.

Many of its over 30,000 residents worry about the outdated drainage system and failing to account for the town's expansion over the years. More than 500 industries were established, with a Chinese-built industrial park's imposing presence. Residents fear they are exposed to flash floods due to the lack of drainage infrastructure and the flat terrain of the town. The capacity of drainage outlets needs to be skillfully designed, according to Argaw Mekonnen, an engineer working for the city municipality.

"Directions of the drainage outlets need to be studied," he said.

The existing two drainage outlets to Bishoftu and Kokicha kebeles were structured before the expansion and development of the city. The outlets are now in the town centre.

"The design for the drainage system was not included in the master plan, considering the city's growing urbanisation," said Daniel Wakjira, general manager of the town's municipality.

Dukem municipal officials issued a public tender two weeks ago, attracting the interest of two companies: ETG Designers & Consultants and Compass Consultancy Plc.

Incorporated two decades ago with a registered capital of eight million Birr, ETG is vying to bid. The company bought the bid document; its executives told Fortune they are reviewing the terms of reference. Having an annual turnover of 40 million Br, the consulting firm has designed and supervised over 100 projects, including works for Wegagen and Nib banks. It has also developed design works for public bus stations for Shashemene and Bule Hora towns, Oromia Regional State, and condominium sites in Qera, Pastor, and Bole neighbourhoods.

It may face a contest from Compass, a consulting firm incorporated in 2008.

"We're interested," said Gossaye Bekele, general manager.

The company supervises over 150 private and federal projects in 100 sites and developed master plans, working with the Ministry of Urban & Infrastructure and the federal Urban Planning Institute.

The company selected to conduct studies and develop the master plan will have its work submitted to the Oromia Construction Authority. A project estimated to cost over 25 million Br will be sent to the Authority for evaluation and confirmation.

"There was no project like this before," said Addis Negash, construction officer at the city branch office of the Authority.

However, the Institution did not receive any report about flush floods residents have been troubled with, Ahmed protested.

"We didn't know," he said.

Yilma Workie, 67, lived in Dukem most of his life. He had seen the town afflicted by recurrent floods for as long as he could remember. He owns two well-known hotels - Yina Grand Hotel Dukem and Misrak Ber Dukem.

"I've witnessed the floods destroying peoples' lives," Yilma told Fortune.

Tigist Eshetu was one of these people whose loss she remembers even after a decade. A mother of two who used to live in dilapidated rented quarters around Gelan Kebele, she lost her properties for flood.

"It's horrible for my kids and me," she said.

Tigist now works in a tannery factory, living nearby an area where flood affects the neighbourhood.

"I don't know how other residents with run-down houses are making ends meet," said Tigist. "The rain was heavy and unbearable last year."

PUBLISHED ON Oct 30,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1174]

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Put your comments here

N.B: A submit button will appear once you fill out all the required fields.

Editors' Pick