Ponds not cleaned for years, villagers bear the brunt

Ponds not cleaned for years, villagers bear the brunt

A polluted pond at Ganga village in Bathinda. Tribune photo

Sameer Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 11

Village ponds in the district are in a bad shape since no repair or cleaning work has been undertaken for the past many years.

With a large volume of sewage from villages making its way into the ponds, the artificial water sources are getting polluted. As a result, residents living near the ponds not only have to bear foul smell, but also face the risk of getting sick.

‘Can’t irrigate fields’

The pond in our village has not been cleaned for over 15 years now. There was a time when it was cleaned on time and regular supply of water was ensured. Decades ago, farmers even used pond water for irrigation, but we can’t do that now. — Bindra Singh, Resident

As per records of the Rural Development and Panchayat Department, there are 724 ponds in the district. Sources claim that a majority of these have not been cleaned for the past many years.

Residents of villages such as Mehma Sarkari, Ablu, Ganga, Mehma Sarja, Nehianwala, Goniana Kalan and Jeeda claim that ponds in their areas are in a bad state. Last year, as part of the government’s pond-cleaning campaign, Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa had instructed department officials to carry out the work to clean and desilt the ponds in all 13,124 villages in the state. Many ponds were cleaned as a part of the campaign, but in Bathinda, most water bodies remained untouched.

Residents of Mehma Sawai village said they could not even recall the last time the village pond was cleaned.

Ranjit Singh of Ganga village said: “After waiting for the government to act, we recently got the pond cleaned with funds collected by the village committee.”

Harjinder Singh Jassal, District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO), said: “Of the 724 ponds, the cleaning of 562 has been completed by the department and the work on the remaining ponds is underway.” Deputy Commissioner B Srinivasan said, “At least 70 per cent cleaning work of the ponds has been completed.” On the deplorable condition of ponds in several villages, he said: “I will look into the matter and take action accordingly.”

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