Tag Archives: Sambalpur Municipality

Civic Body Apathy Leaves Sen Park in A Shambles

One of the oldest recreational hubs of Sambalpur Town, Sen Park lies in a shambles, thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the Municipality. Spreading over three acres of land, the park has turned into a hunting ground of anti-socials as lack of maintenance on the part of the civic body is keeping people away from it.

The park got its name from Jitendra Nath Sen, the chairman of Sambalpur Municipality from 1901 to 1920 and on whose land it is situated.

The Park got a major facelift after renovation work was taken up for the first time in 2002. The new look saw people flocking the park in hundreds.

The park also became a favourite place of children after new equipment like swings, seesaws, slides and other amusement facilities were augmented on its premises. While parents took a stroll in the park, the children enjoyed the outdoor games.

However, the park lost its sheen as the municipality failed in maintaining and upkeeping the recreational hub. The civic body neither bothered to looked after the facilities that were put in place nor tried to upgrade the infrastructure.

In 2011, lights were installed in the park as part of a beautification drive. But the drive turned into a farce as majority of the light posts became defunct due to lack of watch and guard system. Soon after, the newly constructed fountains in the park stopped functioning.

Vice-president of Sen Park Surakshya Samiti (SPSS) Gokul Meher said a music system was also put in place in the Park. But today, neither the music system works nor the swings are functioning. After repeated missives to the municipality yielded no result, the members of SPSS collected money from among themselves and repaired the swings a few years back, Meher said.

Similar sentiment was echoed by secretary of SPSS Mohammad Sanaullah. He said the municipality has failed miserably to maintain and develop the park. The park is out of bounds for the residents after the sun sets as the lightposts have stopped working, he rued. “It’s high time the municipal authorities took note of the sorry state of the park. Though the Sambalpur Municipality will be upgraded into a corporation soon, the town lacks a proper recreational hub to cater to the needs of the people,” Sanaullah added.

When contacted, Executive Officer of Sambalpur Municipality Aniruddha Pradhan said beautification works are underway in the park with `5 lakh provided by the Western Odisha Development Council. The municipality is in no position to develop the park on its own as there is dearth of fund, he added.

Sanitation Goes for a Toss in Sambalpur

With the model code of conduct coming into force in the State, the Municipality finds itself in a tight spot to resolve the sanitation woes faced by the denizens.

With the recent development in election front, the Municipality cannot finalise the tenders which it had floated for outsourcing of cleaning work. The civic body had outsourced cleaning work in 15 of total Wards under its jurisdiction.

However, the agency, which bagged the tender, walked out of the job on February 15 with prior intimation following which the sanitation in the town went for a toss.

Though the Municipality claims to have engaged an agency temporarily for cleaning work, there has been no visible improvement in sanitation and the town is sinking under heaps of garbage littered in various places across 15 Wards. The drains are overflowing and filthy water is spilling on to the roads while the garbage is emitting foul smell.

Sources said the delay in payment of bills forced the private agency to withdraw from the work. Following the withdrawal, the Municipality subsequently floated fresh tender seeking expression of interest from NGOs and other enterprises having experience in cleaning work with the last date of receipt being February 25.

However, with the announcement of the general election, the finalisation of tenders has met a dead end. Besides, the crisis has exposed lack of sincerity on part of the Municipality to tackle the sanitation woes.

As the outgoing agency gave prior intimation much before its withdrawal, the Municipality could have hired a new agency. Instead of acting on the issue, it sat over it till the situation worsened.

It is alleged that the entire issue was allowed to slip out of hand to help certain vested applicants who had evinced interest in taking up the cleaning job.

When contacted, Executive Officer of the Municipality Aniruddha Padhan admitted that the tender is yet to be finalised due to enforcement of the model code of conduct. However, things would be set right with the help of a temporary agency which has been hired for the cleaning job, he claimed.

Sambalpur gets corporation status

In a bid to soften the agitation over the demand for a permanent bench of the High Court in Western Odisha districts, the State Government on Tuesday decided to accord corporation status to Sambalpur municipality.

The decision was taken at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The major city of Western Odisha would become the fourth municipal corporation of the State after Bhubnaeswar, Cuttack and Berhampur. Finance Minister Prasanna Kumar Acharya, who was present at the meeting, said  the Chief Minister has directed the officials of the Urban Development department to expedite the process. This was a long-standing demand of the people of Sambalpur, he said.

However, there were mixed reactions from the political parties. While the BJP welcomed the decision, the Congress described it as a move to placate the people of Sambalpur ahead of the urban local body (ULB) polls likely to be held there in December.

The corporation will include Burla and Hirakud notified area councils (NACs), along with 12 gram panchayats located on the outskirts of Sambalpur. At  least seven gram panchayats of Dhanakauda and five of Maneswar block would come under the corporation with a population of over 3.35 lakh. The process for converting Sambalpur municipality to a corporation will be started in October.

BJP MLA from Sambalpur Jaynarayan Mishra welcomed the decision. But he demanded that the city be included under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The decision is welcome, but will not be of much help unless the city is included under the JNNURM.

Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh criticised the State Government for playing vote bank politics. The Government should stop playing tricks on the people of Sambalpur, he said.


Corporation status for Municipality demanded

People of Sambalpur are now demanding corporation status for Sambalpur town after formation of greater Sambalpur comprising Sambalpur Municipality and NACs of Burla and Hirakud.

Intelligentsia of the town said during a visit to the district on July 9, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said at a meeting that demand for corporation status to Sambalpur was under active consideration of the State Government.

Now, with the ULB polls in the region cancelled due to ongoing agitation by the lawyers, they demanded that the Chief Minister should make his intention clear on the matter.

They also submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister reminding him about the issue through Sambalpur Collector Balwant Singh.

Earlier on February 28, the Sambalpur Development Authority (SDA) had sent a proposal to the Government over the issue. Chairman of SDA Bijay Kumar Mohanty, Chairperson of Sambalpur Municipality Kalpana Sahu and Chairperson of Burla NAC Chandrabati Naik had even jointly called on the Chief Minister in July and submitted a memorandum demanding that Sambalpur should be accorded corporation status.

But with the State Government remaining silent on the issue, people are losing their patience.

In the memorandum, it had been mentioned that besides Sambalpur Municipal limits, Burla and Hirakud NACs besides gram panchayats of Sankarma, Kainsir, Aamsada, Katapali, Gandmunda under Dhankauda block and Maneswar, Mathapali and Sindurpankh gram panchayats of Maneswar block should be merged in the proposed corporation for which a comprehensive development plan is being prepared.

Merger of the areas would take its population to 3,14,026 paving the way for the corporation tag.

Maintaining that the demand is genuine, SDA Chairman Bijay Kumar Mohanty said the proposed rural areas have also developed urban character besides being well connected. The problems of these areas are multi-dimensional and only the corporation status would help in initiating development works.

Unused swimming pool set for major facelift

Jhasketan Sahu Swimming Pool in Sambalpur, the first competition pool in the State, is set to get a major facelift following the visit of a team of experts recently.

The team comprising Secretary, Department of Sports and Youth Affairs, Sanatan Mohanty; former Director of SAI, VVSN Rao and swimming coach Surendra Naik visited the pool on August 12. They inquired about the problems of the swimming pool and discussed its renovation with Collector Balwant Singh.

District Sports Officer Gangadhar Behera said an estimate will be prepared on renovation and additional facilities required for the pool. He said the work for preparation of estimate has already been assigned and all efforts will be made to expedite the renovation work.

Established in 1977, the pool was the venue for State and national-level championships for 27 years. However, owing to the apathy of the Sambalpur Municipality that is  responsible for its maintenance, the pool lies in a state of utter neglect.

Now the pool is filled with dirty water devoid of chlorination. While the filtration plant for the pool should run for eight to 10 hours daily, the former has been lying defunct. Moreover, the pool premises has turned into a godown for the Municipality authorities who are using it to keep dust bins and other items.

Earlier, former Revenue Divisional Commissioner (North) Dr Alekh Chandra Padihari had directed Aditya Aluminium to undertake renovation and development of the swimming pool and submit an action plan.

However, no tangible step has been taken in this regard so far.