Once a major source of drinking water for residents of Balangir town, the Karangakata pond in the town is now replete with filth and wild growth. The local administration responsible for its renovation seems to have closed its eyes to the condition of the water body.
During yesteryear, the royal family of Balangir had excavated 18 ponds in the town. Those were designed in such a way that the water channels were linked to one another.
While none of the ponds is in usable condition, Karangakata pond has been damaged beyond repair. It has been covered with an overgrowth of weeds, plants and creepers. The colour of the water has turned green from transparent while the boundary wall built around the pond has worn out.
It is alleged by the people living around the pond that most of the funds allocated for repair works have been misappropriated. Worse, there is no accountability and administrative responsibility.
In 2004, responsibility of renovation of the pond was taken up by Balangir MLA AU Singhdeo. In 2006, PWD wing spent ` one crore for the work. In 2010, the local municipality spent `20 lakh and in 2011-12, `25 lakh was spent by the Minor Irrigation Project division towards renovation of the pond.
This year too, Balangir MP Kalikesh Singhdeo has sanctioned `30 lakh for the renovation work and the municipality has also proposed to the Urban Development Department to grant `50 lakh for the work.
Notwithstanding all the money being sanctioned or spent on the water body, there has been no improvement in is quality.
Municipality Executive Officer Santosh Behera said a fresh proposal for maintenance of the pond has been sent to the Urban Development Department. “We are aware of the condition of the pond and steps are being taken to renovate it,” he informed.