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A paradise lost in foul waters
- Jusco lake guards go MIA, vehicles mock pollution norms at Dimna landmark

The sprawling Dimna Lake — an erstwhile picnickers’ paradise 13km from the heart of Jamshedpur — has earned the dubious distinction of a car wash.

Guardian of the artificial reservoir, Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco, had deployed five security personnel last year to monitor the watery landmark following complaints of pollution. But, with the guards often MIA, the banks of the 92sqkm lake has become a free washing yard for vehicles — from two-wheelers to commercial carriers.

Vehicles not only get a bath in the scenic lake, they are also oiled and lubricated, leaving the water toxic and hence, unfit for human consumption. However, the reservoir, which can store up to 35,000 million litres, is liberally used by Jusco to supply water to the city during peak summer when the level of Subernarekha plummets.

All the civic utility firm has done to stop pollution of the Dimna Lake is paint graffiti along the 2km picnic stretch, warning people against swimming in the water body or using it as a laundry and car wash.

But, rules are made to be broken, revealed a spot visit around 11.30am on Wednesday.

“Jusco ke security kabhi kabar hi aate hai. Woh bhi dur se chale jate hai. Gadi dhona yahan din bhar chalta rahta hai koi nahin rokta (Jusco guards rarely monitor the lake area. Even if they come, they don’t muster the courage to stop vehicles from polluting the waters. Cars and trucks are washed here all day long with no one to raise objections),” said Nirmal Bhengra, an auto-rickshaw driver who ferries visitors to the lake from Mango.

Owners of rogue vehicles remain indifferent and adamant to save money — say Rs 200-500 to wash a four-wheeler at any workshop in the city.

Yahan hum hamesha aate hai. Hum kisi ko disturb nahin karte. Khane ka saman picnic mananewalo ke liye lekar aate hai. Gadi maila ho jata to yahan dho kar jate. Jab yahan free mein dho lete hai to bahar paise dekar kyun dhoyen (We wash our vehicles here regularly without disturbing anyone. We ferry food for picnickers and our vehicles get dirty. Why should we pay for a wash when we can have it free?),” said Mohammed Irfan, the driver of a commercial van.

Picnickers can’t do better but lament on the pathetic condition of the landmark lake.

“I come to Dimna every winter for picnic. The lake is not as clean as it used to be. What can one expect with such blatant violation of orders against water pollution,” said Ramchandra Mouli, a Bistupur-based entrepreneur.

Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan feigned ignorance about the menace, but promised remedial measures.

“We had deputed security guards last year; put up warnings; and had also written to the local police (read Bodam police station in Patamda block), requesting regular patrolling. I will ask our security in-charge to ensure that patrolling is intensified in the area,” he said.

East Singhbhum additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar said they would act against violators if Jusco lodged a pollution complaint.

“In February this year, we had raised pillars on approach roads to Subernarekha to prevent heavy vehicles from reaching the banks of the river. We can plan a similar strategy for Dimna Lake too if Jusco chooses to approach us for a solution to the problem,” he added.

The question is whether the Tata Steel subsidiary will be humble enough to seek help.


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