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...ARE WE IN HELL?
- Waterlogged streets, garbage hills & paralysed helpline make capital citizens wonder…

Hello Ranchi, miss the dirty picture? Walk a few yards from home and behold an eyesore of a city in the absence of civic preparedness. Frequent and heavy bouts of rainfall since Sunday may not have caused stray crashes, collapses or casualties, but have done worse — thrown hundreds and thousands of lives out of gear. The mouth-watering smell of roasted bhutta and garam pakora with garam chai in and around official precincts is perhaps the only olfactory stimulation amid the muck and stink. CHHANDOSREE and HARDEEP SINGH take a daylong city tour to account your troubles

kids cornered

Schoolchildren stepped out of homes on puddle-riddled roads. Some managed to keep their shoes dry. Most were not as lucky. On Dr HP Narayan alley, a narrow trunk of Bariatu Road, they had to wade through spilling sewage water. In the elite neighbourhood, all front lawns looked like gutter.

“We have been urging civic workers to help, but in vein. We even tried registering a complaint with RMC’s toll-free number, but it doesn’t seem to work,” said area resident Priya Sinha

Morning a mess

With the garbage disposal system almost kaput this rainy month, the entry point to every colony is an ugly sight. Squatting pigs, squabbling dogs and cows chewing kitchen refusals add to the hideous canvas.

“Going out of home has become frustrating. Mounds of garbage have covered all lanes and bylanes. On top of that, showers are kicking up an unbearable stench. Are we living in hell? I wonder,” said development professional Hemant Baruah, a resident of Old Commissioner Compound.

aargh Afternoon!

This Friday was religiously important, being the first Jumma of the holy month of Ramazan. The faithful put in their best efforts to read namaz in the rain. Those who succeeded in finding place inside masjids were happier.

“Look at the roads. We will roll out a chatai (mat) and pray outside the masjid. The RMC should do something to keep the surroundings clean,” said Md Mehboob Alam, a resident of Hindpiri’s central street.

Added Mehboob Khatoon, another local resident: “The rains have made our lives miserable. Drains are overflowing, garbage disposal is irregular and we cannot ask guests to come over for iftar. Faith and camaraderie is at stake in this stinking mohalla.”

Lake lament

Monsoon could have been a boon for the city’s beauty spot — Bada Talab aka Ranchi Lake.

But, lack of maintenance has left the sprawling water body choking on weeds. Livelihood of fishermen, who are unable to cast their net, is under threat.

Roof risk

Mall salesgirl Kaveri, a resident of Madhukam, could not go to work because she had had a sleepless Thursday night. “While we face drinking water crisis, the streets are always flooded. I could not sleep because rainwater was dripping from the roof. I put a bucket on the bed and stayed awake all night,” she said.

godsend spell

The only people who were happy despite the shower showdown were vendors of waterproof items like plastic sheet.

Plastic hawkers, who dot the Ranchi University boundary wall, are opening shops as early as 8am and are even fleecing helpless residents.

“Finally, we are doing brisk business. Yesterday, I made around Rs 4,000,” said vendor Tirath Mahto. “We have plastic sheets in the range of Rs 3001,000. We are bargaining hard.

This is the time to make some profit,” he added.

VOICE OF AUTHORITY

I am surprised to know that the toll-free number is still not working. I will enquire about the matter and let you know when it becomes functional. Second, we are putting together efforts to get the city cleaned. Rains have made the process slow, but garbage will be removed today (Friday). Also, we will ensure that every Friday, we have additional workers to clean mosque areas

Om Prakash Shah
Deputy CEO, Ranchi Municipal Corporation