| Sign of neglect: Hadisahi Pokhari at Old Town. Telegraph picture |
Bhubaneswar, March 7: The Hadisahi Pokhari in Old Town is stinking with locals dumping solid waste into it. The pond’s water is also being polluted by discharge of sewerage water from nearby areas.
Once the waterbody — also known as Kaligadia pond — was used by the residents of Old Town for multiple purposes including performance of religious rituals. But today one can see tons of polythene bags and other kinds of waste floating on its water. Some people also use the banks of the pond to dry their cow-dung cakes.
“The pond has become useless for 15 years. When I was a child, the pond had clear water and its banks had steps made of laterite stone. But now, people have constructed houses on all sides of the pond and are polluting it in all possible ways. It is also being choked by weeds,” said Satyanarayan Dash (48), a priest who lives in New Chemedi Sahi in Old Town.
“Sometimes, local residents also throw the carcasses of animals into the pond. We wonder how could this happen when the pond is just about a kilometre away from the Lingaraj Temple,’’ said Dash.
A businessman, who did not want to be named, admitted that most of the problems of the pond began when some local people started encroaching the land on its banks.
“These people have no respect for the law of the land. They have constructed houses by encroaching the land of the pond. Now they are earning a lot of money by renting these houses for commercial purposes,’’ he added.
Situated close to Bhimatangi cremation ground, the pond was earlier used by the people of the entire Old Town area, including areas like Bhimatangi Housing Board Colony, Jambeswar Patna, Math Bhoi Sahi, Darji Sahi, Bania Sahi, Pujapanda Sahi, Harachnadi Sahi, Hadi Sahi and Barik Sahi. It was the second most important waterbody in the area after the Bindusagar Lake. But now, with little water left in it and its entire expanse being choked by solid waste and weeds, people cannot use the pond anymore.
Retired professor Nabakishore Satapathy, who is a resident of the Old Town area, said: “Conservation of such waterbodies is important as it would help maintain regional environmental and ecological balance.”
“Indiscriminate pumping of groundwater by local residents also needs to be checked so that the waterbodies can retain their old charm. On the other hand, by polluting the waterbodies with sewerage water and solid waste, we are also contaminating groundwater. So when the people of the nearby areas will pump the groundwater and use it, they are likely to be afflicted by diseases,” he added.
No senior Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation official has ever isited the waterbody.
Sanitation officials in the municipal corporation told The Telegraph that launching a special drive for cleaning waterbodies is the need of the hour.