Editor’s Desk: Bhubaneswar Mayor Anant Narayan Jena resorted to chest thumping when Bhubaneswar led the pack of cities/town in Odisha to get the approval of ‘Smart City Project’. Bhubaneswar emerged as No. 1 city in Odisha. Minister Ashok Panda, MLAs Priyadarshi Mishra, Bijoy Mohanty, Sashibhushan Behera and MP Prasanna Patasani patted their back. But, yesterday’s drain mishap in the capital city not only exposed the living condition in the city, but also raised serious questions on the efficiency of the government as well as the administration.
The drainage system in Bhubaneswar getting exposed to little or heavy rains, is not a new phenomenon. Water-logging, flooding have been long tolerated by the common people. They got the assurance always, but not the right kind of facilities they deserve. However, the situation went beyond the level of tolerance yesterday, when a 9-year-old boy, Pupuni became the victim of collapse of the system and administration.
The incident occurred in Nayapalli area yesterday when the schoolboy fell into an open, uncovered drain near Mumtaz Ali High School and swept away by the overflowing water. He was crossing the road along with his mother, but slipped due to strong current. As the drain was open, he fell into it before realising what happened. The locals came to rescue, but it was too late. The boy was rushed to the hospital, but declared brought dead.
The angry locals blocked the road for hours and held the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) led by BJD leader Anant Narayan Jena responsible for the incident. They did it rightfully. But, the damage was already done. Tapan Biswal alias Pupuni, lost his life. His parents are bereaved. And, the Mayor yet again sought to assure the people that everything will be taken care of and situation will improve in Bhubaneswar. He also added insult to injury by announcing a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the deceased’s family.
Is that enough, Mr. Mayor. The city has elected you second time in a row with high hopes. The people in Bhubaneswar have high hopes on you. You not only carry their hopes and aspirations, but also represents Odisha at the higher level. Is it the system you are boasting of? Are you proud of the living conditions in Bhubaneswar. Are you satisfied with the infrastructure development in the city? It’s time for self-introspection! Hope you do it!