BARIPADA: Jinjiribandh, which is claimed to be over 100 years old, is on the verge of extinction due to lack of maintenance by the authorities concerned, encroachment by the builders and dumping of garbage by unscrupulous people.The pond is surrounded by daily market, Maa Ambica temple and royal palace. Though there is no record about the year of its construction, the locals believe that it was created by erstwhile royal families.
The locals claim that the pond used to play a major role in meeting the water needs of the people of Baripada town. Its water was so clean and pure that the people used it for domestic purposes. Besides, the pond solved the water crisis during summer.Over the years, as the town expanded and population increased manifold, the people started encroaching the open land around the pond and constructing unauthorised houses. Ironically, neither municipality nor other authorities have taken any initiative to rid the pond of illegal structures till date.
The water of the pond has also been rendered unhygienic for human consumption. While a number of drains in the town open at the pond and dispose the filth into it, the garbage generated from vegetable, fish, chicken and mutton shops in nearby daily market is dumped in the pond. The local residents have also made its embankment an easy dumping yard for their household garbage.Besides, the pond has not been renovated for several years due to utter negligence on the part of the authorities concerned. Weeds and wild plants have covered almost the entire pond while silt has accumulated in the pond’s bed due to lack of desilting operation.
Ironically, Baripada Municipality, which is expected to take care of the water bodies in the town, disposed garbage in eastern part of the pond some time back and even cleared a big space for market purpose. The municipality proposes to set up a vending zone in the space, construct an approaching road and a town hall at a cost of `9,97,600 from Development Fund.
“It is one of the vanishing ponds in Baripada. The century-old natural water body has been seized by the land sharks and mafia considering the skyrocketing coast of the land in the town while the municipality prefers to remain silent,” said Manoranjan Das, an elderly resident of the town.
Contacted, Executive Officer of Baripada Municipality Subashis Mansingh admitted that at least seven water bodies including Jinjiribandh need immediate renovation. Odisha Urban Infrastructure Development (OUID) of State Government inspected those places recently. The Municipality has given a proposal to OUID to provide fund for the renovation. After the fund is sanctioned, the renovation work would be taken up, he said.