Cattle sheds lie in a rubble along the Subernarekha in Jamshedpur on Saturday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, Jan. 5: The East Singhbhum district administration today razed over 20 cattle sheds on the Subernarekha riverbank, acting on complaints about health hazards by local residents and a senior citizens’ forum that threatened to approach the court.
Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC) carried out the five-hour drive, starting around 11.30am at Gandhi Ghat, Sakchi, in the presence of local policemen and Rapid Action Police jawans after a directive from Dhalbhum sub-divisional officer (SDO) Subodh Kumar.
Wooden logs, tin sheds and other structures that were pulled down were loaded in vans and dumped at JNAC office in Sakchi. The drive was also carried out in Pandey Ghat near the Subernarekha crematorium in Sitaramdera.
However, no resistance was reported on the part of any of the khatal or cattle shed owners.
The Singhbhum Varishth Nagrik Manch had notably raised objections to the presence of cattle sheds in the city limits before the deputy commissioner Himani Pande and the SDO a number of times.
Shiv Pujan Singh, a functionary of the manch, said they had apprised the SDO on December 31 last year of health risks posed by the unhygienic conditions of the cattle sheds that encroaching upon the riverbank.
“The district administration only carries out an eviction drive of the khatals and then closes its eyes. After a few weeks, the khatal owners again raise their sheds and carry out their business as usual. We had informed the SDO and the deputy commissioner that if suitable action is not taken to remove the sheds, we will be forced to file a public interest litigation (PIL) against the administration for contempt of a high court order,” said Singh.
Jharkhand High Court, in its order on a PIL about cattle sheds in Ranchi in 2005, had asked the district administration to ensure that all the encroachments were located outside the city limits.
SDO Kumar told The Telegraph the eviction drive was carried out following complaints. “We had evicted cattle sheds prior to Chhath last year. However, after the festivities, the owners put up the cattle sheds on the riverbank again. This time, we have asked the local police station officials to ensure that no such shed comes up after the eviction drive,” he said.
Incidentally, the district health department had also raised objections to the cattle sheds, as they were considered breeding ground for vectors especially responsible for diseases such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya which had seen an outbreak in Jamshedpur last year.