Mrunal Manmay Dash

The sorry state of ‘development’ is clearly visible in Balasore town where government funds for renovation and beautification of ponds are gathering the dust with a large amount of work yet to see completion.

The state government's Mukta scheme aimed at upgrading 16 water bodies of Balasore municipal corporation by including the renovation work of ponds. The objective was to clean the water bodies and release the debris with lighting around the ponds, walkways and play areas for children.

More than two years have passed since the plan, but only five water bodies have been restored so far while 11 more are awaiting completion.

“The scheme was launched to increase the groundwater level, beautification and restoration of water bodies. But we can see problems in finishing the job. Work at many ponds has not even started yet,” said a Balasore local Gangadhar Rout.

“They have put up big hoardings and posters at every pond. But it is really unfortunate that the work is yet to start. The Municipality has been saying since August that the work will start after rains. But it is yet to start,” said a local Councillor, Padmalochan Lenka

As per reports, a sum of Rs 3.20 crore was sanctioned for the beautification of six ponds within the city. Out of this, the highest Rs 1 crore was sanctioned for the restoration of Badakhua pond in ward number 2.

However, three years have passed since the plaque was installed, but even 30 per cent of the work has not been done. The people have repeatedly complained to the civic body about this, but the result is zero. However, the municipality chairman said that the money has already been sanctioned and all the water bodies will be restored soon.

Speaking about the delay in work, Balasore Municipality Chairperson, Sabita Sahu said, “Chief Minister has approved 16 ponds to clean and beautify. Geo-tagging has already been completed. We will start the work very soon.”

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