Bad and beautiful — Dimna Lake, nestled in the foothills of Dalma some 13km from the city, has rendered itself to an unseemly oxymoron, courtesy downright dearth of civic sense among picnickers and ample apathy on the part of its guardian Jusco.
Thermocol plates, soiled plastic bags and picnic platter leftovers form the bulk of garbage littering the serene surroundings of the lake that covers a length of 5-7km and is as wide as 2km. Add to this a leaking underground water pipe and you have a mucky mess to convey this season’s greetings.
According to conservative estimates, more than 5,000 people from Jharkhand, Bengal and Odisha throng the lake area during the month-long peak picnic season, which extends from Christmas (December 25) to Republic Day (January 26). Fun gangs have already started pouring in from Saturday, taking the footfall to over 500 during the weekend.
“The Dimna Lake you see today is a far cry from what it used to be. Look around — there is garbage everywhere. The lake area has not been cleaned for a year. Besides, water leaking from an underground pipe, running from Subernarekha to Dimna reservoir, has made a large patch of 5,000sqft slushy. The area has become an eyesore,” complained Samu Hansdah, a resident of nearby Mirzadih village in Patamda block.
Most picnickers troop to Dimna Lake from Bengal’s West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts and Odisha’s Baripada, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar, besides Jharkhand’s twin Singhbhums and Seraikela-Kharsawan. And it goes without saying that few spare a thought for its pristine surroundings. But, Hansdah — an ice cream vendor by profession — argues that barring the entry of litterbugs would only harm local economy.
“We earn handsomely during the peak picnic season. Authorities should put their act together instead of banning picnic at Dimna,” he added.
Kathik Sahis, a vendor who sells bottled water and other refreshments at Dimna Lake, also raised security questions. “Lights in the lake area have been defunct for nearly seven months. We brought the matter to the notice of security guards and Jusco officials. But, no action has been taken so far. Without lights in the evening, picnickers are in a hurry to go home and they leave their garbage behind,” Sahis pointed out.
Ramesh Yadav, a young man from Ulidih, Mango who visited the spot with office colleagues on Monday, expressed dismay and surprise at the state of affairs. “Dimna Lake was always our office picnic venue. But, lack of maintenance has turned it into a garbage dump. The place has become so unhygienic that we could barely have a picnic today. It will require a huge workforce to ready the lake area for the peak picnic season, which is barely two weeks away,” he said.
He claimed that while civic sense was lacking among people, Jusco’s dustbins too were missing in action. “Yahan ke logon se masti ke baad safai karwana muskil kam hai. Agar dustbin nazdik ho toh wahan phenk sakte hai (It is difficult to make people clean garbage after hours of fun. However, had there been dustbins nearby, things might have been a tad better),” he said.
East Singhbhum additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar, when informed about the condition of the lake region, said that Jusco would be prodded into action. “Dimna Lake is a landmark, which cannot be allowed to turn into an eyesore. We will ask the utilities company to launch a cleaning operation immediately,” he added.
Jusco general manager (town services) Dhananjay Mishra promised that a team would visit the picnic spot on Tuesday and plan a clean-up strategy.
Should Jusco impose litter fines on picnickers?