Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rayagada, Jul 13:
After all the hoopla surrounding the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan died down and the streets and drains in this south Odisha town were back to their original unclean, stinking shape, a 76-year-old retired dean of the Central University has started cleaning the drains in his area twice a day, setting an example for others to follow in the process.
After approaching Rayagada municipal authorities time and again to no avail, the retired dean Netrananda Malla started cleaning the drain between his house and crossroads of his street and twice every day.
The municipal authorities did clean the drain once after receiving the complaint 3-4 times, but that was clearly not a wholehearted job. The unclean drain resulted in mosquito menace in the area and Malla took over the job of the municipality himself.
“The Rayagada municipality spends Rs 7 lakh a month for cleanliness, but the result is nothing to write home about. If the citizens can cooperate with me only for two hours on Sunday, I can change the face of the town,” said Malla speaking to us.
“Diseases such as malaria, dengue, pneumonia etc are spreading because of environment pollution. If people can clean the drains of their respective areas, it is also going to result in a cleaner environment and safer health condition. I will also speak to District Collector Jagannath Mohanty, who is a student of my friend, to look into the matter,” he added.
When we spoke to the municipal authorities regarding the cleanliness drive in the town, they were evasive.
“We had cleaned that drain after receiving the complaint. Drains are getting choked because of waste getting stuck in PHD pipes. We are cleaning them on a weekly basis apart from addressing the specific complaints we receive. We will take specific measures to address the challenges of rainy season,” said Executive Officer of the Municipality Suryamani Patjoshi.