SAMBALPUR: Traditional water bodies in Sambalpur town will soon get a new lease of life.
The district administration has decided to renovate and revive these water bodies, which have till now faced the wrath of unplanned constructions and rapid urbanisation.
The Minor Irrigation Department has been roped in for the purpose and a total of 18 water bodies will be given a facelift. Six will be covered in the first phase work that will begin within a fortnight. They are the water bodies at Betrapada, Balibandha, Ramsagar, Manikmunda, Danipali and Jagannath Colony.
As per official reports, there are 94 traditional water bodies spread over 930.235 acres under Sambalpur municipality limits. Embankments of most of these water bodies have been encroached upon and they are filled with filth, weeds and silt. Sources said in the past, the town was dotted with agricultural fields and these traditional water bodies along with the Hirakud dam reservoir provided water for irrigation. These also recharged the groundwater.
While these structures were considered a boon to Sambalpur, things have worsened in the absence of maintenance.
For instance, Chandan bandh of Somnath temple in Balibandha that hosted the Chandan Yatra till 1982, is a dumping ground today. Following floods in 1982, condition of the bandh started deteriorating and sans renovation and maintenance, the five-acre pond, constructed by Maharaj Balabhadra Sai, serves as a dumping yard now. Filled with weed and silt, it has turned into a passage for sewage of the town that flows into the Mahanadi.
Assistant Executive Engineer of Minor Irrigation Department, Kishor Kumar Panda, said the detailed project report for the renovation of six water bodies has been submitted to the Superintendent Engineer. An estimate of around `3.66 crore has been made for the purpose, he added.
Panda said the project would include de-watering of the ponds, de-silting, clearing weeds, strengthening of embankments, levelling the adjoining areas, construction of bathing ghats and more importantly, making the water bodies fit for human use. He informed that the department has identified four more water bodies whose DPR is being prepared.