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Missing poles foil mission clean river

Subernarekha returns to being a dhobi ghat for vehicles on Wednesday.

East Singhbhum administration’s efforts to check river pollution by preventing drivers of trucks and buses from washing their vehicles at the ghat near Hathi Ghora temple seem to have come a cropper.

Five of the 20-odd iron poles, erected on the approach road to the ghat in May 2013 to bar vehicles from nearing the river, were found uprooted on Wednesday.

The resulting gap is enough to let in buses, trucks, cars and SUVs.

The Telegraph also found many trucks and SUVs being washed on the riverbank.

Aaj subah humko bataya gaya ki gadi nadi me phir dho sakte hain. Road se pillar ko hataya gaya hai. Is liye hum gadi lekar rakhe hain (We were told this morning that we could wash vehicles again as barriers were removed),” said Sanjay Yadav, cleaner of a truck.

But who strategically uprooted the iron poles remains a mystery.

East Singhbhum additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar expressed ignorance about the uprooting of iron poles.

“We have no information regarding this. I will ask Dhalbhum subdivisional officer to investigate and again initiate the erection of poles. We may also depute a guard at the spot to prevent mischief-mongers from repeating the act,” said Kumar.

Pollution level at Subernarekha near its Mango-Sakchi stretches is quite high, revealed a recent survey held by NGO Yugantar Bharti.

“The dissolved oxygen level in the water is between 3 and 4 PPM (parts per million), which should ideally be at least 6.5 PPM. However, the biochemical oxygen demand is between 15-17 mg/litre, while it should ideally be between 8-10 mg/lt,” said environmentalist and advisor to Yugantar Bharti, K.K. Sharma.

While biochemical oxygen demand is an index to assess quality of organic water, low level of dissolved oxygen can be harmful for aquatic life.

Before May 2013, hundreds of long-distance buses, trucks, SUVs and three-wheelers used to lined up at ghats in Mango and Sakchi for washing and in the process released oil, lubricant and other toxins into Subernarekha.

In April 2013, Jharkhand High Court took East Singhbhum administration to task, asking it to keep Subernarekha and Kharkai clean.

Jolted, the administration joined hands with Tata subsidiary Jusco to erect iron-pole barricades in May last year.

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