BERHAMPUR: Over a century-old Ramlingeswar pond stands neglected despite several plans being made to renovate it. Time was when the pond water was used by the locals for drinking and irrigation purposes. Today, it has turned into a stinking swamp used for dumping garbage.
Although confirmed records are not available regarding the origin of the Ramlingeswar pond, senior citizens said it was dug over an area of about seven acres in 1870s. According to the Ramlingeswar trustees, the pond was owned by the temple trust’s founder AB Chetty but the municipal authorities said the pond was originally owned by the government and its management was later entrusted to the Ramlingeswar trust.
The pond was cleaned at regular intervals till 1970. Later, no attention was paid by the municipality except fencing its bank and setting up cement chairs. A park was also constructed near the embankment of the pond which was an ideal recreation ground for people of the area.
However, due to lack of maintenance, weeds have covered the pond and garbage is dumped inside it by locals and eatery owners located in the area. The fountain that was constructed inside the park lies dilapidated. The boundary wall has collapsed at many places and stray animals find their way into the park.
Last year, the State Government had decided to develop the pond into a water sports site and the Berhampur Municipal Corporation prepared a detailed project report (DPR). The DPR was accepted by the Government and `5.5 crore sanctioned for the project. Even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid foundation stone for the project, work on it has not been started yet.
Engineer of the civic body, Asim Mishra said the pond issue will be placed before the next BeMC council meeting for further action.