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Facelift for heritage pond

- Municipal corporation to clean & beautify Raja Talab

Protests by local residents over the dismal state of Raja Talab in Jharia have finally prompted Dhanbad district administration to take imminent steps to renovate the pond, which was built by king of Jharia estate Durga Prasad Singh in early 20th Century.

The decision was taken at a meeting at the district collectorate on Monday.

Chaired by deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar, the meeting was attended by officials from Mineral Area Development Authority and Dhanbad Municipal Corporation, elected representatives and other administrative officials. Councillor Anup Sao, who led a series of protests in demand of the pondís restoration, was also present.

The authorities decided that first, the heritage pond would be cleaned and then beautified as part of the renovation exercise.

Officials concerned have been ordered to immediately begin dewatering, which will be followed by desilting.

Officials will also carry out a survey near the pond to identify the areas that have been encroached upon by shopkeepers and clear them accordingly.

Additional district magistrate (law and order) B.P.L. Das said Dhanbad Municipal Corporation would carry out the development project after preparing a detailed project report (DPR) in consultation with elected representatives, including councillor Sao. The state urban development department will fund the beautification drive.

The project cost would be fixed after the survey and preparation of the DPR.

ďA review of the projectís progress would be conducted every month at the district level,Ē he said.

Sao said plantation near the pond would be also carried out as part of the beautification process.

The pond, spread over 8.26 acres, is currently in a sullied state, thanks to a host of issues including encroachments on the southern bank and pollution by nearby residents, who use the water body for bathing and washing clothes and utensils.

Angry with the situation, Jharia residents under the leadership of councillor Anup Sao had carried out a series of protests, including a signature campaign and fast-unto-death earlier this year.

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