Corruption cry at Bindu Sagar

BJP members today demonstrated at Bindu Sagar, highlighting delay in the tank's renovation and levelling corruption charges against the civic body.

By Sandeep Mishra in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 13.10.17
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(Top) BJP members demonstrate in the Bindu Sagar pond and (above) the polluted waters of the tank’s 
in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 12: BJP members today demonstrated at Bindu Sagar, highlighting delay in the tank's renovation and levelling corruption charges against the civic body.

The BJP members had protested for close to an hour this morning and said officials of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation were involved in a big scam in the restoration project of the holy pond. The party demanded immediate restoration of the pond.

"An amount of Rs 3.5 crore was given to a Pune-based firm to clean Bindu Sagar. However, the cleaning has been stalled and the water body has become polluted. It reveal the corruption in the multi-crore project," said BJP state vice-president Sameer Mohanty.

He said: "We demand that the state government restore the water body at the earliest or we will intensify our protest in the coming days."

Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena, on the other hand, said the detailed project report of the restoration was ready, and the selected firm would take up the job in a month. "It is a baseless allegation that we are doing nothing for the restoration of the pond," said Jena.

The mayor said the civic body was aware of the importance of Bindu Sagar and there was a need of an inclusive plan for its restoration.

"We have taken all-round care while preparing the project report for the pond's restoration. We need to keep the sentiments of people in mind while taking up the restoration job," said the mayor.

In April, the corporation had held a special citizen connect programme to get their views and feedbacks on the restoration of Bindu Sagar. The citizen connect programme had been held jointly by the civic body and the Pune-based firm, following which their inputs were added to the plan.

Sources said the civic body's earlier attempts to restore the pond had failed because of reasons, including local residents' opposition.

"We faced stiff opposition from various quarters while restoring the pond because many people thought we were destroying the biodiversity using the modern technology," said a civic official.

Local people's religious sentiments are attached with the water body as during festivals such as boita bandana and others, they perform an array of rituals in the pond. The Lingaraj Temple is the custodian of Bindu Sagar and its peripheral tanks.

This is not the first time that the civic body has been criticised for its efforts to restore Bindu Sagar. The corporation had spent over Rs 20 crore in the past six years towards cleaning of the pond, but its plight remains the same.

The Telegraph has reported several times about the bad condition of the pond, which is extensively used for the daily rituals of Lingaraj Temple.

Environmentalists also fear loss of biodiversity while carrying out the pond's cleaning.

"The pond is home to a lot of natural resources and micro-organism, including weeds and other flora and fauna. It has a rich natural biodiversity. A proper plan is needed to clean the pond and this is probably why the civic body had faced failure in their earlier attempts," said environmentalist Alok Mohanty.