Another biggest ward of the city, Ward no 19 is part old & part modern so far as residential mix is concerned. As per past record, this ward was constituted by bringing together four former villages of the capital. Currently, the ward includes areas like GGP Colony, Mira Kutira, Champati Vihar, Shrusti Villa, Old Bank Colony, Friends’ Colony, Bhagabat Sandhan Enclave, Basudev Nagar, Munda Sahi, Hanuman Sahi, Jagannath Nagar, Rasulgarh Sabarsahi and Kimbhiria slum. However, despite covering so many areas, basic civic amenities are not available for the residents. While people are facing all types of civic problems, there are also administrative issues to be sorted out. We take a look.
Road & Communication
One of the biggest challenges for this ward is related to road and communication. Most of the roads in this ward are either damaged or full of potholes. As a result, during monsoon, drain and rain water keep overflowing on the roads.
Manoj Champathy, a resident of Jagannath Nagar Lane 10 tells MCL, ‘As it is one of newly made districts of the capital, one would think that the infrastructure must be in place. But here, we do not get the basic minimum facilities. The condition of roads is most pathetic. Every monsoon, we face the same problem for months together. Due to the potholes, the roads get filled with rain water. Drains start overflowing on to the roads and it gets difficult for us to commute on the roads, particularly for school children. It is not inconvenient, it is also unhygienic.”
To this, Anirudha Swain, a retired government officer of Jagannath Nagar adds, “What is worse is that even after the rains stop, the situation gets no better. It takes days before normalcy is restored. And, if by that time, there is another spell of rain, we are back to the same problem. Since the drain water also starts flowing on the roads, there is always this bad smell we have to live with.”
Bad roads are not the only woes of residents of ward 19 when it comes to communication. Public transport is a headache too. Even though a part of this ward is newly built, neither bus service nor autos are available for commuters in this area. The situation is no different in the old part of the ward.
“It’s really sad that an area like Jagannath Nagar, which came up only about 15 years back, is in such a sorry state. This is one of the most crowded areas of the city and more than 33% of residents in this area include senior citizens, who are dependent on public transport but there are no facilities for them. Whenever we have to go somewhere, we have to walk for 2-3 kilometers to catch an auto or bus, which is not practically possible for everyone,” rues 65-year-old Narendra Kumar Jena of Jagannath Nagar.
Shoddy sewerage system planning has proved to be a bane for the public in this ward. And it is for all to see. At many places, the sewerage lines are found cracked open and waste water overflowing on the road is a common sight. It not only raises a stink and proves to be a hurdle for residents who use the roads daily, it also poses health hazards during the rainy season.
Another frequent complain of the residents is choking of the sewerage tank as the overflowing waste water gets deposited in the uncovered pits frequently. If the bad planning and maintenance are not bad enough, a lot of residents are found openly releasing their sewerage lines directly to the drain as because there is no planning involved.
A retired OAS officer Asutosh Pathi of Jagannath Nagar says, “Here, many people have openly connected their sewerage lines to the public drain which are uncovered. Some of these drains are just by the side of the road.” It is happening frequently because the sewerage system was not planned properly from the beginning for this area, he points out.
Law and Order
Although this ward has three police stations, security remains a major concern for the residents of the area. Thefts, snatching cases and other antisocial activities are frequently reported from this ward. “Many house owners are not staying here and are keeping tenants without proper verification. Many a times, these tenants are seen involved in antisocial activities. Like recently a group of girls, who were staying in a house nearby on rent, were found to be involved in sex racket. Similarly, a couple was caught from a flat involved in some illegal activity and they too were living with a fake identity,” says social activist Champathy from Jagannath Nagar.
The other law and order related problem for the residents of this ward is regarding the jurisdiction of the three police stations. “Whenever there is a case to report, we get confused about which police station to approach. At times the Laxmi Sagar police station says the case does come under their jurisdiction and at other times, the Rasulgarh police station has the same reply. As a result, we suffer,” says Jena from Jagannath Nagar said.
Another problem that the residents of this ward struggle with is lack of health assistance. Although there is an old government dispensary in GGP Colony, most of the time, there is no doctor available there even though a full time doctor has been appointed for the dispensary besides two visiting doctors. The dispensary also does not have basic facilities. As a result, people of this ward have to either visit Capital Hospital or Hi-Tech Hospital during emergency, which is far from their locality.
“For any medical issue, we have to visit Capital Hospital, and due to poor communication facilities, it gets challenging at times. The dispensary in our area is without a doctor most of the time. And even if doctors are present, they refer patients to other hospitals,” claims Upendra Majhi of GGP Colony.