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Summer plans get civic nod

Bhubaneswar, April 22: The council of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation today decided to take steps to combat the prevailing heat wave condition, desilt drains before the monsoon and allot shops to displaced traders of Bhawani market complex at Saheed Nagar.

But, the state government’s directive that the corporation would no longer have the right to dig up tube wells and erect stand posts in areas where water is scarce drew the flak of its councillors.

“As the public health engineering organisation is looking after the city’s pipe-water supply system, the corporation’s execution of water supply projects in summer raised objections during the audit reviews. So, the state government informed us that the work would only be executed by the public health engineering organisation,” said Bhubaneswar mayor Ananta Narayan Jena.

Councillor of ward No. 49 Amaresh Jena, however, said that the 73rd and 74th amendments of the Indian Constitution empowered municipal bodies to have control over all civic issues, including water supply. “Why the civic body’s rights are being restricted here remains unknown,” he said.

Sources said that there were three divisions under the public health engineering organisation in the city. However, while all the areas are getting pipe water in division I, many areas of divisions II and III remain uncovered. More than 50 per cent of the city’s areas are yet not covered under the pipe water supply system.

According to rules, the public health engineering organisation should have obtained an approval of the annual water supply plan for the city from the municipal council, but this year, they did not do so.

The mayor, however, said that the councillors had to bring the water-starved pockets to the notice of the corporation and only then steps would be initiated by the public health engineering organisation to address them. The corporation’s tanker service to localities with scarce water supply will continue till then.

This year, the BMC will constitute a heat wave control room and a squad to check water supply in scarcity zones.

While tube wells with minor faults will be repaired within 24 hours, major repair works will take up to 48 hours.

The municipal council also decided to construct 30 public toilets in various areas of the city at a cost of Rs 4.76 crore.

“The toilets will help maintain sanitation in and around the city. While constructing the toilets, we will give a priority to tourist destinations and major market places,’’ the mayor said.

In another major decision, the council approved provision of 81 shops with shutters to the displaced traders of the Bhawani market complex.

“We have a 52,000sqft plot reserved for the displaced traders. After providing space for roads and other amenities, the first 81 persons will get shops with 120 square feet each. The remaining area will be distributed among the displaced persons. Each trader will get 36sqft. The second category, however, will consist of open pindis (raised platforms).

The council also decided to take up the drain desiltation work early this year apprehending an early monsoon.