Monday, 30th October 2017

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Wooed Dhanbad points to civic woes

Drains alongside Dharmshala Road are overflowing and Raja Talab where thousands offered arghya “is still stinking”

By Praduman Choubey in Dhanbad
  • Published 4.11.19, 12:48 AM
  • Updated 4.11.19, 12:48 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Garbage near Sabji Market in Jharia, Dhanbad Gautam Dey

Residents here don’t appear too impressed by the spate of new announcements and scheme launches before the polls, and pointed out the lack of basic facilities such as roads, drains and proper drinking water supply.

Chief minister Raghubar Das during his Johar Jan Ashirwad Yatra in the district on October 16 and 17 inaugurated two water supply schemes worth Rs 875 crore. But, as former councillor of ward 37 of Jharia Anup Sao pointed out, residents of Jharia and Katras have been facing perennial water crisis since the past three years due to a host of problems, including leaks in the pipelines of civic body Mineral Area Development Authority (Mada), technical snags in motors of the Mada water treatment plant at Jamadoba, and repeated strikes by Mada employees over salary delays.

“These problems need to be attended to,” Sao said. “Such is the situation in Jharia and Katras that people remained thirsty even on Diwali and the day after it this year. The series of inaugurations are only to woo people ahead of elections but the basic issues remain unaddressed.”

Sao added that residents of Jharia also faced dirt ahead of the holy festival Chhath, as drains alongside the town’s artery Dharmshala Road are overflowing and the historic Raja Talab where thousands offered arghya “is still stinking”. “Hyacinth was somehow removed from the pond at the eleventh hour,” Sao alleged. “In fact, during Durga Puja, people had to use dirty water of this pond for the navpatrika snan ritual as the pond was not cleaned.”

Debu Mahto, a resident of Telipada locality who is also the Dhanbad town president of the district unit of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, said residents were so frustrated by the lack of water supply and clean roads that they had put up posters saying “MP MLA ka pravesh nishedh (MP, MLA not allowed)” in their locality on October 15, a day ahead of the chief minister’s arrival.

“For now, the water crisis seems over. But dirty roads and the general dirt in our areas persist,” Mahto said. “Only Dhanbad town is better off. The smaller towns, suburbs and rural areas are just garbage zones, notwithstanding the rosy picture shown by people’s representatives engaged in inauguration sprees.”

Councillor of ward 29 of Dhanbad Municipal Corporation Ganpat Mahto said some development work had indeed been done by Dhanbad Municipal Corporation.

“But the series of inaugurations just ahead of the announcement of the state polls does raise a lot of questions,” Mahto conceded. “Some, like the foundation laying of Dhanbad Municipal Corporation building office, have been done for the second time. The foundation stone of the building worth Rs 48.26 crore was laid on January 15, 2019. Another foundation stone of same project was laid on October 14 on the pretext that some changes were made in the detailed project report. What does this mean?”

Mahto further alleged that in the hurry to put up a good show, several schemes for which even tenders had not been finalised, had also been taken up for foundation laying, including a bridge in Wasseypur area.

District president of the Congress, Brajendra Prasad Singh, also appeared vocal in criticising the inauguration spree.

“These are nothing but political gimmicks ahead of elections by the Raghubar Das government. Majority of these schemes are not going to take off from the ground,” Singh said. “People are intelligent enough to understand what the reality is. Nothing is changing at the ground level. People are still deprived of basic facilities such as water supply, minimum cleanliness, proper roads and drains,” he added.