A Durga Puja pandal being readied at Bakri Bazar
in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Puja pandals in Ranchi will be offering much more than fancy decorations and beautiful idols this year. Hygiene and health will be on priority as organisers will be stocking up on clean and pure drinking water for parched revellers.
The civic body is taking that extra step to ensure supply of pure drinking water to all 200-odd Durga Puja pandals following a spurt in diarrhoea cases in the city. From Mecon Colony alone, more than 40 people suffering from the water-borne disease have been admitted to various Ranchi hospitals.
Alarmed, Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has taken up the matter informally with Puja organisers and Ranchi Mahanagar Durga Puja Samiti as hundreds of people visit pandals during the festive days and chances of them falling ill are high if they don’t have access to clean drinking water.
“Every year, the RMC supplies drinking water to Puja pandals. But this time, we are extra-cautious as cases of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases have been reported from across the city. The purity level of the water to be supplied will be checked. Besides, we will provide adequate quantity of chlorine to the pandals,” deputy CEO of RMC Shailendra Kumar Lal said, adding that they were in touch with the public health engineering department, which supplies water.
Health officer of RMC Ajay Kumar Manjhi has been appointed nodal officer to monitor the exercise, while RMC officials will be deputed for round-the-clock vigil.
Around 168 major puja organisations are currently listed with the RMC. The figure crosses 200 when smaller ones are included, which means that the corporation has set itself up for a big challenge.
The civic body, which has 28 water tankers, has requested Puja organisers to also make their arrangements. Ranchi Mahanagar Durga Puja Samiti has assured the RMC that it would make provisions for 50 water storage tanks.
“We are aware about the threat posed by water-borne diseases. RMC will hold a meeting with Puja organisers on September 29 where the issue will be thoroughly discussed,” said Ajit Sahay, patron of the Samiti.
To ensure proper monitoring, Ranchi has been divided into 11 zones — each to be headed by senior RMC officials who will co-ordinate with Puja organisers.
“We will swing into action from tomorrow (Wednesday). Cleanliness drives will be carried out across the city for which extra workers will be pressed into service. The exercise will be wrapped up before the festival starts. During Navratri, the city and pandals will be spruced up at midnight,” an official of RMC said.
The civic body has passed an order to replace about two dozen defunct street lights, whereas maintenance of mast lights is scheduled to be completed by October 3.
The RMC will also float a toll-free helpline from October 4 and set up a control room to respond to people’s needs.
While Navratri starts from October 5, Durga Puja is from October 10. Dussehra will be celebrated on October 14.