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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Civic guardians to shield river
- Ban on car wash, cattle sheds on banks

A dying Subernarekha may finally get life support, thanks to the East Singhbhum district administration.

In a two-pronged move, the district administration has decided to ban washing of heavy vehicles in its waters and directed the Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC) to beautify riverbanks from where cattle sheds were evicted last month.

According to district administration sources, hundreds of vehicles — 50-odd long-distance buses and an equal number of trucks, numerous SUVs and three-wheelers — line up for washing on the ghats each day, feeding oil, lubricant, dirt and other toxins to the river at two points — Subernarekha Ghat and Pandey Ghat.

Cleaners also dump garbage accumulated inside buses in the river.

Though the administration had wanted to ban this for long, it did not have a preventive mechanism. But now, this may change with interlocking pillars that Jusco will procure for the administration’s use. Dhalbhum subdivisional officer Subodh Kumar has been asked to supervise the operation effective from this month.

Confirming the development, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) East Singhbhum Ganesh Kumar said they discussed the issue with Tata Steel officials, including chief of administration M.G. Singh, on Wednesday.

“During the meeting, we came up with the idea of putting up plastic or concrete pillars with a locking system. The pillars won’t be fixed on the ground for flexibility of removal during festivals like Chhath, Durga Puja and others. Jusco promised to deliver them soon. We will install pillars to ban vehicle washing near the river and depute security personnel to ensure they are not vandalised,” he said.

In the second directive, JNAC has been directed to undertake landscaping and beautification in areas freed from unauthorised cattle sheds during the mass-scale eviction drive in January.

“Eviction drives have been conducted to drive out encroaching cattle sheds. But days into the drive, we see cattle owners back. Though they initially do not set up establishments again, they tie their animals in the area. Landscaping and fencing of land will prevent this,” said the ADC.

Three large cattle sheds exist on riverbanks — at Subernarekha ghat, Sakchi, near Sitaramdera Bus Terminus and in Bhuiyandih. Cattle sheds have been identified as major breeding source of mosquitoes by health department apart from bovine wastes adding to water pollution build-up.

Will the twin measures restore Subernarekha’s lost glory?