Reported by Satya Narayan Rautray
Bhubaneswar, Jun 30:
Once the lifeline of thousands of people in 12 panchayats, the 40-kilometre long Gangabati River flowing close to the Odisha capital is all but dead thanks to government apathy.
The river that was formed by the integration of various springs from Chandaka, Chudangagada and Damapada forests and had a reputation for its sweet tasting water and small fishes, has now turned into a stinking drain and known as ‘Gangua nala’ (drain) these days.
Fast urbanisation and industrialisation in and around Bhubaneswar have taken their toll on the river that flows around the Nandankanan Lake, Pandara, Hansapal, Laxmisagar, Rasulgarh and Bomikhal areas of the city before joining River Daya near Pipli and Jatni.
The government has done its bit to pollute the river by adding about 35-40 concrete walled drains to it while doing nothing to purify the water.
While former Union Minister Bhajamana Behera termed the government’s action as “murder”, Rashtriya Jala Biradari Anusthan plans to take out a massive mass movement to save the river.
“We are going to face a massive scarcity of water in the future. The government knows about it very well, but does nothing to protect the source of water and water bodies. This is killing the river by poisoning it. The government should stop this immediately and instead arrange for setting up a wall alongside the river to ensure dirty and polluted water doesn’t get inside. Once the water gets clean, the government can set up co-operative societies and start fish farming to generate employment for locals,” said former minister Behera.
“We would be able to rediscover an important source of water for the city, if we could clean the river. We need cooperation from the public and government alike to accomplish the task,” said Odisha Unit Chief of Rashtriya Jala Biradari Anusthan Manas Ranjan Mishra.