CUTTACK: When it comes to water sharing between States, political parties leave no stone unturned to grab the Brownie points because it has leverage with the voters but pollution, no one is bothered about.
Mahanadi and Kathajodi, two rivers which are considered lifeline for Millennium city, are choked with pollution but the issue has failed to grab the attention of political parties suggesting the fact that environment as an issue continues to be far away from the radar of political class in the State.
Cuttack depends on both the rivers to meet the daily domestic needs of its residents apart from irrigation. However, water quality of these two rivers - considered lifeline of Cuttack - is worsening, thanks to unrestricted dumping of garbage, waste and debris besides direct discharge of untreated domestic and industrial effluent. For political parties, it is not an issue at all.
“Elections have come and gone but deteriorating condition of the two rivers has never caught the attention of politicians. It has never been taken up as a poll plank,” said environmentalist Pradipta Kishore Mishra.
The Parliamentary constituency of Cuttack comprises three Assembly segments - Barabati-Cuttack, Choudwar-Cuttack and Cuttack Sadar - which are part of the main city. But, none of the candidates contesting from the seats seem bothered about the plight of the two rivers.
As per reports of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), both Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers are heavily polluted in the down streams and their water is not fit for drinking, bathing or irrigation. The findings also suggest that while stretches of the two rivers have been moderately polluted, the situation is more alarming in case of Kathajodi that falls under level C category which implies the river water cannot be used without proper treatment for consumption and irrigation purposes.
“The rivers are much more polluted and their condition more precarious than what the report of pollution control board suggests. Despite strict instructions of National Green Tribunal (NGT) to keep the rivers clean, rampant unrestricted encroachment of the river bed, sand mining, dumping of garbage, debris and other household waste are causing the slow death of Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers,” said Mishra. He said it is a matter of utmost regret that the political parties have never highlighted it in their manifestos.
The city, as it is, has been reeling under drinking water scarcity due to depletion of ground water level. In the past, denizens had protested diversion of river water to industries. “Protection and preservation of Mahanadi and Kathajodi should be the top priority of the politicians. The candidates are promising to provide drinking water and irrigation facility to voters.
But, how can they ensure that without protecting the rivers,” asked Kulamani Mohapatra, a senior citizen of Markatnagar.