| The natural drainage channel that has been turned into a dumping ground in the Sailashree Vihar area. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, Dec. 30: The natural drainage channel no.1 — which starts from Hatiasuni slum bordering the Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary and falls into Buri Nullah near Rokat village on the city outskirts — is as good as a dead stream. It is being choked by loads of solid waste and silt.
Elephants from the Chandaka forest come to drink water from the channel at the place of its origin. But the channel is in a pathetic situation as it winds its way through wards 15 and 11 and then enters wards 8 and 9. From there, it moves into Amana, Gadakana area and falls into the Buri Nullah via Daya West Canal.
The pollution level in the channel goes up as it enters Niladri Vihar as sewage water of the residential area falls into it. Siltation on the bed of the drainage and encroachment have also restricted the flow of water in the channel.
“I have seen the channel being squeezed from 180 feet width in the original master plan to 80 feet, but now it has reduced to less than 40 feet in many areas. Individual house owners and builders and property developers are choking the flow of the natural drainage channel in many parts of Chandrasekharpur,’’ said councillor of ward no. 9, Ranjan Kumar Jena.
Nirupama Jena, councillor of ward no. 8, was of the opinion that though in some places people were complaining that the channel was eroding their plots, the real situation could be that channel, actually, is encroached. “As people are encroaching the natural flow of water, at some places when the water comes with more force, it washes away some portions of land with it. In many areas like Sailashree Vihar, encroachment is visible,” she said.
Admitting that no cleaning operation was going on by the staff of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to make the channel bed free from solid waste dumps, she also added that even the drainage division of the government had turned a blind eye to the plight of the drain.
For a visitor going towards DAV Public School, Chandrasekharpur from Damana Square, the sight of dumping of garbage is nauseating.
Paresh Kumar Rout, a trader of phase-II of Sailashree Vihar, said: “We have never seen any BMC staff in the past showing any interest in cleaning the natural water channel. At times, we have even seen carcass of animals dumped on the sides of the channel, which makes the environment of the entire surroundings filthy. In the downstream areas, the flow of water gets choked and civic authorities often have to interfere to solve the problem.’’
Trader Soubhagya Patnaik urged the trading community to refrain from dumping solid waste in the channel. “In the past, some people came and took some steps against dumping solid waste in the channel. But no renovation work has started so far for the channel,’’ he added.
City health officer Dr Ashok Panda said that the cleaning work of the channel was to be done by the water resources department. “But regarding throwing of solid wastes in the channel steps will be taken up and the BMC will plan awareness programmes to ensure that people do not dump solid waste on the channel,’’ he added.
The councillor of ward no. 9 informed that the natural channel had been included in the renovation plan by the water resources department and preliminary steps have already been taken for that.