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Pradeep Pattanayak

There was a time when the Gangua used to be one of the cleanest rivers and dubbed as the lifeline of Bhubaneswar. Now, it has become just the shadow of its former self, on the verge of extinction. 

If the information shared by the Central Pollution Control Board is anything to go by, among the 19 polluted rivers in Odisha, the Gangua is the most polluted one. To feel the plight of the river, OTV team carried out a survey and was baffled to see how it is struggling for its existence. 

While concrete jungles are literally squeezing it, plants’ toxic effluents, sewage water released into it have proved to be its bane of existence. Since its path has been obstructed, a little shower is enough to give rise to water logging problem, giving the capital denizens the most nightmarish experience. 

These are the reasons why a movement named Gangua Banchao has come into being to save the river from vanishing. 

“First three drains were constructed. Then more three were added. Now our public representatives have been demanding for 12 drains. If it is not stopped, our next generation wouldn’t hesitate to shed blood for its survival,” observed Manas Mishra, an environmentalist.

If delved into the history, one can find everything starting from the river’s genesis. As many as 22 natural streams gave birth to Gangua river. While its total length is 65 kilometres, it has taken the form of gutter just 13 kilometres away from its origin. 

However, researchers say during the reign of Samrat Kharavela, Sishupalgarh was the capital and the Gangua river used protect it. This apart, it sued to be the lifeline of the people then. It was the water of the river for which seven garhs including Patiagarh , Chudanggarh and Sishupalgarh came up along it. 

“Samrat Kharavela set up his capital on the bank of the Gangua river. His queen would take bath in its water. It indicates how fresh its water used to be,” said researcher and former vice-chancellor of Utkal University, Binayak Rath. 

The river originates from Chandaka-Damapada forest and as it reaches the Capital city of Bhubaneswar, it gets squeezed thanks to encroachers. If such a situation continues, the time is not far away when the river would get completely vanished. 

Here a question is arising who is responsible for the present depelpoarbel condition of the river. 

However, a glimmer of light has emerged at the end of the tunnel after newly elected BMC Mayor Sulochana Das said a master plan would be made to infuse life into the Gangua river. 

“The government has a master plant to make the Gangua river pollution and encroachment free. The river is natural one so steps would be taken to keep the naturality intact,” said Das. 

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