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River breathes uneasy

Rampant illegal constructions, which have reduced river Garga in Bokaro district into a mere trickle, have doubled over the past few years with the district authorities failing to conduct any major anti-encroachment drive since 2011.

A survey by The Telegraph along a 6km stretch of Garga in Chas subdivision on Monday revealed that scores of new residential structures have mushroomed on the river bed. The violations are most rampant in places like Gujarat Colony, Kuer Singh Colony, Chira Chas, Bharra and Bari Cooperative.

Sources said that the local authorities are hand-in-glove with the encroachers, most of who greased the palms of the officials to secure the plots.

“The Garga river, which was about 40 metres wide, has now become barely 15 metres and even lesser at some points where illegal constructions are most rampant. No one cares to clear the encroachments, which was the main reason behind the 2012 floods in Chas,” 74-year-old S.K. Datta, a local resident.

Bokaro deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh, who took charge last September, was surprised when The Telegraph informed him about the unauthorised constructions and immediately ordered Chas circle officer R.L. Soni to conduct a probe and submit a report.

“This is the first time that I am getting complaints about encroachments on the river. Encroachments have taken place at several spots. I have asked Soni to submit a report within seven days after which I will definitely start an anti-encroachment drive,” Singh said.

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