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Protests swell in stink town

Shoddy sanitation services and pending projects in Dhanbad are triggering protests from all quarters.

Last week, coal town lawyer Shadab Ansari filed a PIL in Jharkhand High Court against a “laggard” Dhanbad Municipal Corporation, the district administration and the state government, and sought judicial intervention to iron out civic problems.

On Monday, May 19, more than two dozen councillors sat on a daylong dharna outside the Bank More office of the municipal corporation in protest against deplorable sanitary conditions in their wards.

The civic representatives have also threatened to burn effigies outside the corporation office and district headquarters on May 24.

In his PIL, Ansari has drawn the court’s attention to the complete breakdown of sanitation services in the coal town through pictures of streets choked with garbage mounds and news reports describing the state of affairs.

Ansari has requested the court to direct the civic body to install vats in residential areas that generate garbage in huge quantities and let out an overpowering stench.

The lawyer has also brought to the court’s notice the poor show in implementing JNNURM projects. He claimed that the ambitious solid waste management project had seen only five per cent work. In case of the urban water supply project, which started in 2008-09, only 45 per cent complete, he has pointed out.

Ansari has revealed how the historic Raja Talab in Jharia had turned into a cesspool while the municipal corporation that charges a host of taxes does not provide residents with basic amenities.

“If immediate steps are not taken to address the problem, an epidemic could break out in Dhanbad any day,” the lawyer pointed out.

President of Federation of Dhanbad Zilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rajiv Sharma couldn’t agree more. He said that a delegation from the trade outfit would visit Ranchi to raise the issues with officials at state urban development department. “If our pleas fall on deaf ears, we will be forced to take to the streets,” Sharma added.

Ever since private agency A2Z made an exit from Dhanbad over differences with civic bosses, hygiene and sanitation has taken a back seat because no one has bothered to dispose of the accumulating tonnes of garbage.