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Park perk near water bodies

- Plans to renovate holy tanks to promote tourism

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 10: Water bodies in the capital are in for makeover.

While Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to renovate Haja Pokhari and Manikarnika Tank, the temple pond of Kapileswar. the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) will take up the work for Bhima Kund, the temple pond of Bhimeswar.

Children can have a splash at Haja Pokhari, which is located in ward No. 57. The pond will be converted into a water recreation zone to attract tourists.

But wait, there is something for the elders too. The civic body has plans to develop the south-eastern part of the water body into a park with proper seating arrangements.

“Several areas of the city, including Pokhariput, Bhimatangi and Sundarpada, are emerging as densely populated housing zones. For the residents of these areas, Haja Pokhari will turn out to be the best place for recreational purposes,” councillor of ward No. 57 Krushna Chandra Sethy told The Telegraph.

Sethy said the civic body would include all the components necessary to turn the water body into a recreational zone.

“The plan includes the construction of inlet and outlet channels, waste water diversion, development of proper ghats, parikrama or construction of a pathway with lights surrounding the water body, which would connect to the main road.

Proper inlets and outlets, wastewater channels and pathways with installation of lights would be constructed at Manikarnika Tank. At present, the water body near the valley of Gangua nullah, flowing by the side of Kapileswar area in the Old Town, is polluted by the ground water, as the channel passing by is at a higher level.

Councillor of ward no. 56 of the BMC Biranchi Narayan Mahasupkar said the development would boost tourism possibilities of the area.

“The pond has tremendous religious importance. Around 1,000 people take a dip here almost everyday and on days like Kartik Purnima and Chandan Yatra, the number of increases to over 2,000. The renovation work, along with water quality development of the tank, would enhance the tourism prospects of the area,” she said.

“The civic body is finalising the planning of the water bodies. The work will begin as soon as the funds are arranged for,” a senior BMC engineer said.

BDA chief horticulturist Ashok N. Dhar said: “The renovation of Bhima Kund (temple pond of Lord Bhimeswar) will not just be about pond renovation or de-silting, but mainly on developing the half-acre plot near the water body as a multi-purpose park.’’

Development of the three water bodies were planned following a visit by the principal secretary of the housing and urban development department, Injeti Srinivas, last week.

Geologists have urged civic authorities to renovate water bodies in Bhubaneswar. “Better-kept water bodies control the day temperature and civic authorities should renovate them,’’ said Nabakishore Mahalik, former professor of Geology, Utkal University.

Urban management planner Piyush Ranjan Rout asked for a master plan to restore and retain water bodies to balance it with real-estate growth.’’