SAMBALPUR: In a bid to tide over water crisis, particularly during summer, and preserve the natural resources in the city, Sambalpur Municipal Corporation (SMC) has decided to renovate 13 ponds under its jurisdiction. As per the renovation plan, ponds in 12 gram panchayats which were merged with the civic body and another in Bhatra will get a facelift.
The Housing and Urban Development Department has already sanctioned `80 lakhs for the purpose and identification of water bodies to be renovated under the plan has been completed.
Deputy Commissioner of SMC Sudhansu Kumar Bhoi said one water body in each panchayat of Sankarma, Kainsir, Aamsada Katapali, Gadmunda, Mathpali, Sindurpank, Themra, Maneswar, Gunderpur, Baijamunda, Senapali and Chaunrpur has been identified for renovation. Besides, the pond located at Bhatra in Ward 36 of the SMC has been included in the plan, he added.
A team of SMC officials visited different parts of the Corporation and zeroed in on the water bodies after interacting with the inhabitants of the area. According to the SMC plan, the selected water bodies will be desilted and their embankments strengthened. Besides, bathing ghats and changing rooms will be constructed.
Bhoi said tender for the work will be floated soon to revive the water bodies and make those fit for human use. Efforts are being made to complete the work before monsoon so that the water bodies would have space to harvest rain water.
As per records, there are 94 tanks spread over 930.235 acres of land under the SMC. While most of the ponds are filled with filth, weeds and silt, their embankments have been encroached by unscrupulous people.
Once lifeline of the city, these water bodies were used for collecting drinking water, daily ablution, irrigation and pisciculture purposes. But, continuous neglect by the civic body made those unfit for human use.
In absence of watch and guard system, embankments of the ponds were gradually encroached. Many of those also turned into dry land.
Meanwhile, the SMC is planning to renovate more water sources for promotion of pisciculture by availing loan from Odisha Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (OUIDF). The Corporation has requested the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department in this regard.