Bhubaneswar, Sept. 5: Absence of rain has hit the much-hyped dredging of Bindusagar lake.
Odisha Construction Corporation Limited (OCCL), the executing agency for the project, is now planning to use excavators to scoop out mud and silt from the bottom of the lake.
The corporation’s senior engineer in-charge of the Bindusagar project, Ayub Ali, said: “We started the work in monsoon hoping that there would be enough water for dredging. But, it did not rain enough.”
Ali said the work could resume if enough water would come out of the lake bed while it is dug up with excavators.
“That will make the operation easy. But, if this does not succeed, we will have to manually remove the mud and silt,” he said.
General manager (civil) of OCCL Prasanna Kumar Mohanty said he was hopeful of success in the Bindusagar case, but things did not worked out.
“There was not enough water coming out of the lake’s floor to ensure smooth removal of mud and silt during the dredging. It did not even rain at that time,” said Mohanty.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, after carrying out beautification around the sacred lake by using funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, had requested the state government’s drainage division to carry out dredging to remove mud and silt from the bed of the water body.
Moreover, the dredging process got delayed as the agency awaited the IIT-Chennai’s survey report to remove sludge from the lake through a pipeline of about 200 metres.
Besides, clearance was also required from the forest department as Ekamravan on the western bank of the Bindusagar lake is under its jurisdiction.
The OCCL, which has expertise in the field, was engaged for dredging for Rs 3.01 crore. However, the agency could not dredge out a large part of mud and silt during its operations carried out last month.
Local residents are also dissatisfied with the agency’s work. “The periphery of the lake is now looking good with the parikrama made of laterite stone, but the water level has not improved and the much-hyped dredging turned out to be a damp squib,” said Suryanarayan Das, who lives in old Bhubaneswar.
Municipal commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra said: “We had a discussion with senior officials of the housing and urban development department. The bulk of mud and silt still remains on the lake bed. The OCCL engineers will examine the situation and take action to clean the lake and improve its water level.”
The OCCL was given the contract to carry out the dredging within six months between June 22 and December 21. The dredging process was aimed to increase the average depth of the Bindusagar an additional 1.5 metres.