Puri: After facing criticism from several quarters for poor sanitation in the Holy City here, the district administration and the municipal body of the city Saturday started drain desilting work.
According to sources, the administration has arranged for more than 300 workers from other districts to carry out the drain desilting work.
“We have sourced workers from other districts to assist our employees in removing garbage and silt from drains. The Holy City has been divided into 10 zones and around 50 workers have been deployed in each zone to carry out the desilting work,” said sub-collector Bhabataran Sahu.
According to Sahu, senior government officials have been asked to monitor the desilting work and report to the administration on daily basis. “We are trying our best to clean the drains prior to the Snana Yatra of Srimandir deities,” Sahu said.
While participating in the second Rath Yatra coordination meeting May 29, many social activists and intellectuals had criticised the district administration and civic body for delay in the drain desilting work. They claimed that the civic body would find it difficult to clear the drains before the onset of monsoon.
However, collector Balwant Singh had assured the meeting that the administration would clear the drains ahead of the Car Festival.
It is worth mentioning here that the Holy City has six large drains and around 250 small ones to release rainwater and sewage.
“The administration usually starts desilting drains just a few days ahead of the annual Rath Yatra. Most of the time, the administration could not complete the work due to rain. It should start the desilting work in March,” said Baidhar Das, a local.
Some locals, meanwhile, urged the administration to clear the drains at least twice in a year to deal with waterlogging. “There were occasions when the chariots were pulled amid waterlogging on the Grand Road during the Rath Yatra. The administration should take the waterlogging issue seriously and clear drains at least twice a year,” said Jitendra Singh, another local.