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- Respiratory diseases on rise as air quality still ‘very poor’ TNN | Nov 11, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: Air quality in Patna and other major cities of the state continued to remain in “very poor” category even two days after Diwali on Saturday, prompting hospitals to initiate measures to deal with rise in number of patients with symptoms of respiratory disorder.
As per the air quality index (AQI) bulletin released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at 4pm on Saturday, PM 2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns) levels in Patna and Muzaffapur were 352 and 344, respectively. AQI between 300 and 400 is considered ‘very poor’ and may cause respiratory illnesses after prolonged exposure.
“We are witnessing rise in number of patients suffering from respiratory problems probably due to high levels of air pollution in the city after Diwali. Altogether 20 beds have been earmarked to deal with such patients,” Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) superintendent Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said.
He added, “A 10-member medical team, comprising doctors and nursing staff, has been deployed in pulmonary medicine department of PMCH to deal with patients suffering from respiratory problems, such as cough and breathlessness.”
The pulmonary medicine department at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-Patna has also initiated several measures to treat patients suffering from respiratory and lung problems in view of deteriorating air quality.
“The number of patients suffering from chronic cough, breathlessness and asthma has increased. We have deployed sufficient number of doctors and nursing staff to deal with the situation,” AIIMS-P superintendent Dr C M Singh said.
NMCH superintendent Dr Chandra Shekhar said respiratory disorder among people was quite common in the city during winter. “Patients usually complain about dry cough, shortness of breath and burning sensations in throat and nose apart from irritation in eyes. Taking into account high level of air pollution in Patna, we advise senior citizens and people with existing diseases to avoid morning walks. Also, people should use masks while going out as a precautionary measure.”
- Rise in pollution boosts sale of air purifiers in Patna TNN | Updated: Nov 12, 2018, 07:06 IST
Dust pollution at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Sunday
PATNA: The ‘very poor’ air quality in Patna has prompted more and more people to buy air purifiers to prevent harmful pollutants and dust particles from entering their homes and protect themselves from respiratory problems.
Those dealing in air purifiers say the sale has registered significant growth as residents have also started seeking technological assistance in a bid to combat the toxic air menace.
Several brands of indoor air purifiers are available in selected shops in the state capital. The companies claim the higher variants of air purifiers are capable of trapping harmful pollutants and dust particles of even less than 2.5 micron.
The domestic air purifiers are available in the range of Rs 15,000 to Rs 1 lakh, depending on the brand. Several companies have introduced air purifiers with features such as particle filtration technology to remove pollutants, gases and allergens in indoor settings. The products can also be linked with mobile phone application to monitor indoor air quality.
Some residents say outdoor as well as indoor air pollution has become a cause of concern for people suffering from respiratory ailments and deserves attention. They say its worth spending a few thousand rupees to protect from the negative impacts of air pollution.
“We are worried because our parents have respiratory problems. So, we wish to buy an air purifier for our home. But for low budget people, the prices are still very high. We cannot do anything about outdoor air pollution, but we can at least remain immune from this problem indoor. If it can protect our health, its worth buying,” said Shila Sinha, who was in a shop at Anisabad.
Pankaj Kumar, who owns an electronic shop on Boring Road said, “We earlier used to sell one or two air purifiers in a week, but now five to ten people are buying these product every day.”
He added, “Days are gone when air purifiers were considered a rare commodity and bought by only well-to-do families. Now even middle class people are more aware about negative impacts of air pollution on health and buying air purifiers.”
Ramesh Kumar Singh, a banker and a resident of Patna City said, “Our house is near the main road and smoke emanating from vehicles and dust particles enter our homes. So, I am going to buy an air purifier so as to prevent my family from the negative impacts of air pollution.”
Azam Khan, who also runs a shop at Anisabad said, “Though demand for air purifiers has increased due to awareness among people, but prices are still too much for the common people to buy one.” He also said, “We hope its demand will grow more in urban areas in the coming days as more and more people are being exposed to air pollution problem in Patna.”
- Four-laning of Danapur-Bihta road soon Piyush Tripathi | TNN | Nov 16, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: Vehicular traffic between Patna and Bihta is set to get a major boost soon. Apart from a proposed elevated road, the existing two-lane road will also be widened into four lanes. Both the roads will smoothen vehicular movement till the Bihta airbase from where commercial flight operations are proposed to begin in a few years.
The road is proposed to start from the Danapur railway station. Funds for construction of the 20km-long elevated road and widening of the existing surface road is slated to be borne by the Centre, while the corresponding construction works are likely to be undertaken by the state government.
The Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Limited (BRPNNL), an executing agency of the state road construction department, has recently initiated the bidding process for roping in a consultant for preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) of the project. The DPR will include detail survey, soil testing, traffic survey and finalization of alignment, among other works.
“The existing two-lane road will be widened into four lanes in order to smoothen vehicular connectivity for local residents. The elevated four-lane road, on the other hand, will serve as a dedicated expressway connectivity for people going to Bihta airbase. The DPR for this project is slated to be made ready in six months,” said Sunil Kumar, an engineer in BRPNNL.
Sources claimed the elevated road would be constructed within the carriageway of the existing surface road in order to avoid land acquisition, except for locations having inadequate width. They further claimed that the DPR would also dwell into the possibility of construction of toll plaza. Besides, way side amenities required on tolled highway will also be planned. The local and slow traffic may need segregation from the main traffic and so provision of service roads and fencing may also be considered, wherever necessary, to improve efficiency and safety.
The elevated road to provide expressway connectivity to Bihta airbase was initially slated to be constructed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). However, later it was decided that the state government will execute the project and funds will come from the Centre.
The state government has also sought nod from the Centre for transfer of land near Danapur railway station for being acquired for the purpose of construction of the Danapur-Bihta elevated road.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has targeted to commence the construction of first block of the proposed civil enclave at Bihta airbase in 2019, utilizing funds to the tune of Rs 500 crore.
At least 120 acres of land has already been acquired near Bihta airbase by the Patna district administration, out of which 108 acres will be utilized by AAI for the purpose of construction of civil enclave. The remaining 12 acres of land adjacent to the proposed civil enclave will be used by the state government for development of amenities, including, a VIP lounge, a hotel and a hangar.
- MoUs signed for sewerage project, Patna master plan TNN | Nov 18, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: The urban development and housing department on Saturday signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for five projects related to Patna metropolitan area and monitoring of sewerage project under Namami Gange project.
Presiding over the MoU signing event, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said the revised detailed project report for Patna Metro rail, which entails an expenditure of Rs 17,000 crore, has been prepared. He added the interstate bus terminal, being developed at a cost of Rs 275 crore, would be ready by 2019. The deputy CM said the five MoUs signed on Saturday would act as a milestone in the development of Bihar.
The first agreement was signed between Patna Metropolitan Area Authority and IIT-Roorkee for zonal development plan envisaged under master plan for Patna. The total area of Patna master plan-2031 is 1167.44 square kilometres and Patna Metropolitan Area Authority has nominated IIT-Roorkee as master consultant for preparation of zonal development plan.
The second MoU was signed for third party inspection between state urban development and housing department and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Patna for effective and transparent monitoring of sewerage project under Namami Gange programme. Altogether 21 projects have been sanctioned by National Mission for Clean Ganga incurring an estimated expenditure of Rs 4,660 crore. The third party inspection of the project will now be done by IIT-Patna.
Another agreement was signed between Patna Metropolitan Area Authority and CEPT Research and Development Foundation-Ahmedabad for area development scheme in execution of master plan for Patna. Under the area development scheme, planned development is undertaken keeping in view the required fundamental structures for proper development of under-developed or unplanned areas.
The fourth agreement was signed with Development Management Institute-Patna for policy advocacy and reforms in urban governance. The agreement was aimed at building a knowledge partnership, which will provide an insight regarding the current status of the municipal governance.
Finally, a tripartite financial advisory services agreement (FASA) was signed between UDHD, Infrastructure Development Authority (IDA) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group for engagement of IFC as the lead transaction advisor for assistance in developing affordable housing projects in state on public-private partnership mode.
- Boy who fell into drain still untraced TNN | Updated: Nov 19, 2018, 06:14 IST
Patna DM Kumar Ravi takes stock of the rescue operation at Punaichak in Patna on Sunday where Deepak Kumar, 1... Read More
PATNA: Ten-year-old Deepak Kumar, who fell into an open drain adjacent to a sump house at Punaichak locality here on Saturday, could not be traced even on Sunday despite best efforts by 40 divers of the National Disaster Response Force(NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).
The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has engaged two super-sucker machines to clear the mud-filled portion of the drain. According to rescue officials, the child, son of fruit vendor Guddu Ram, is probably stuck in the mud-filled portion of the drain.
Patna DM Kumar Ravi and PMC commissioner Anupam Kumar Suman visited the spot on Sunday to take stock of the rescue operation which began at 4pm on Saturday. The DM asked the rescue team to dig the 15-feet long mud-filled portion of the drain to trace the boy.
PMC deputy commissioner Vishal Anand said all efforts were being made to trace the boy. SDRF second-in command A K Jha said divers, who are equipped with oxygen cylinders, went inside the drain, but failed to trace the boy. “We are now concentrating on clearing the choked portion of the drain,” he added.
Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav also visited the spot on Sunday afternoon. “The incident is unfortunate. We hope that the boy will be found alive. The PMC should take effective measures to avoid such incidents,” he said.
- Bihar green cover raised from 9% to 15%: Nitish Kumar TNN | Updated: Nov 19, 2018, 05:57 IST
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar at Valmiki Nagar on Sunday
BETTIAH/BAGAHA: Chief minister Nitish Kumar unveiled a host of eco-tourism facilities in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) on Sunday. He said that the state had successfully raised its green cover from 9% (post bifurcation from Jharkhand) to 15%. “We shall soon achieve our target of 17%,” he said and added that 22 crore trees have already been planted so far.
Accompanied by deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and water resources minister Rajeev Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, Nitish concluded his two-day sojourn at picturesque Valmikinagar after reviewing the ongoing development works of eco-tourism facilities and the strengthening of the Gandak embankment.
The government also transferred about 200 acres of land lying with the water and resources department to the department of environment, forest and climate change for development of tourism facilities.
Nitish also appreciated VTR’s initiatives to conserve and augment the number of big cats. “When we assumed office, there were just eight tigers here. Now there are 35,” the CM said, adding that while the tiger population is rising in the VTR, it is on the decline in the neighbouring Nepal. VTR adjoins Nepal’s Chitwan sanctuary and UP’s Sohagi Barwa wildlife sanctuary.
The CM said that the transfer of 200 acres of land to the environment, forest and climate change department would give a boost to tourism in the area. “The majestic view of the Himalayan range and the Gandak river would serve as a feast for the eyes of those visitng Valmikinagar,” he said and added that facilities like eco-huts, boating and organised safaris would force people to visit the area. “We had 45,000 tourists this year. Their footfall will soon cross one lakh,” he said while inaugurating a bicycle safari in the park.
Nitish announced that a convention centre would also come up at Valmikinagar for tourists. “We shall even hold a cabinet meeting at this picturesque location,” he said in response to Modi’s suggestion. Earlier during his morning walk on Sunday morning, the CM inspected the Gandak left bank protection embankment works which were under progress from old Triveni canal to the Kauleshwar hanging bridge. He also fed bananas to elephants at their shed near the Kauleshwar temple.
The CM praised the art and culture of Tharu tribals and assured them that they would be preserved. On Tharu’s demand, the CM announced that Bagaha -2 block headquarters would be shifted to Sidhav in the near future. He said that Valmikinagar would be developed as a tourist city like Rajgir and Bodh Gaya.
- Gaya, Patna getting warmer due to unplanned urbanisation: Study Abdul Qadir | TNN | Updated: Nov 23, 2018, 07:35 IST
Picture for representational purpose only
GAYA: On account of unplanned urbanisation, Gaya and Patna are getting warmer. The fact has come to light on the basis of a recent scientific study of the metrological pattern of the Gangetic plain. Satellite data was ued to study the impact of urbanisation on the atmosphere.
The study was conducted by Archisman Barat, a research scholar under the supervision of Pradhan Parth Sarthi, of Central University of South Bihar (CUSB). Barat quantified the Urban Heat Island (UHI) intensity of major cities over the entire Gangetic plain, in which cities of Bihar showed an alarming trend.
Patna was found to be warmer by over four degrees and Gaya by over two degrees Celsius in comparison to their immediate rural neighbourhood. The peak warming pattern, as per the study is even more alarming.
Human induced peak warming was found to be around nine degrees Celsius and six degrees Celsius for Patna and Gaya respectively. According to a press statement issued by Muddasir Alam, public relations officer at CUSB, the research was conducted using Terra- Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) - data collected by satellite-of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
“The research finding has been published in prestigious Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science by Korean Meteorological Society and now has been placed in the official records of NASA, Harvard University, and US federal government science website,” Alam said.
As per the findings of the research, on account of urbanisation, cooling process gets inordinately delayed during night time in the summer months. Not only that, the pattern of weather change has also got off track.
Late arrival of winter has now become a regular feature in the region. The duration of winter season too, has got progressively shortened over the period due to intense urbanisation. The phenomenon has added to the woes of residents of Gaya due to escalating pollution level. A few months back, WHO notified Gaya as the fourth most polluted city of the world. Other harmful effects of urbanisation, according to the study include spread of diseases caused by heat and congestion and stress-related ailments. The general discomfort caused by high atmospheric temperature and air pollution was also having a negative impact on the quality of life in the affected region.
- Pollution: Preventive measures being taken by Muz admn TNN | Nov 24, 2018, 01:00 IST
MUZAFFARPUR: Prompted by the high level of air quality index (AQI) in Muzaffarpur, the district administration has geared up to control the situation.
The town topped the chart of AQI in the country for the third consecutive day on Friday which was recorded at 435. On November 21 it was 445, followed by 434 on November 22.
Muzaffarpur DM Md Sohail said, “Preventive measures are being taken to improve the air quality. We are highly concerned over the poor air quality in the town. We will leave no stone unturned to keep the air cleaner and healthier for every human being. A positive result of our endeavour will be visible within a fortnight.”
“We are working on the issue with officials from Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) and Muzaffarpur Municipal Corporation. Some of the reasons have been identified,” said the DM.
A senior scientist of BSPCB SN Jaiswal attributed the smog to bad air quality. “Suspended particulate matter and fog due to winter weather are two main reasons behind it,” he said.
An official source at local pollution control office at Muzaffarpur said, “Road dust (14-19%), generator sets (5-6%), open waste burning (9-11%), manufacturing industries (5-10%), brick kilns (11-29%) and construction activities (8-13%) contribute significantly to air pollution.”
- Patna’s air quality still ‘very poor’ Piyush Tripathi | TNN | Updated: Nov 24, 2018, 07:06 IST
Heavy dust blowing in the atmosphere creates air pollution in Patna on Friday
PATNA: Air quality in Patna has improved over the last couple of days, but it still continues to remain in the ‘very poor’ category.
As per the daily bulletin issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Patna had dropped from 423 on Wednesday to 370 on Thursday. However, it again surged by three notches over the last 24 hours and stood at 373 on Friday evening, remaining in the ‘very poor’ category.
The CPCB states that ‘very poor’ category of AQI can lead to respiratory illnesses on prolonged exposure.
The AQI is an assessment of the air quality taking into account eight pollutants: PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 10 micron), PM10 (particulate matter less than 10 micron), nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, ammonia and lead.
PM2.5 has been found to be the biggest contributor of the high AQI in Patna. The average level of PM2.5 in Patna’s air on Friday was around 214.29 micrograms per cubic metre, over two times the corresponding daily permissible limit of 100 micrograms per cubic metre.
Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) chairman Ashok Ghosh attributed the reason behind gradual plunge in the AQI to meteorological factors. “Temperature fluctuations and thermal inversion led to surge in AQI earlier this week. However, the fall in temperature has been lately stable which has led to a plunge in the AQI,” Ghosh said, adding it was a normal phenomenon at this time of the year due to transition season.
The BSPCB chairman claimed that several factors, including alluvial soil in the city and sandy areas in the riverine areas of the Ganga, were responsible for the high level of PM2.5. “Plantation activities in the riverine areas can curb pollution to a great extent. Besides, net on construction sites and stringent pollution checks of vehicles can bring down the level of pollutants in the city,” Ghosh said.
According to health experts, air pollutants such as particulate matters trigger allergies, cough, lung infections, irreversible lung damage, asthma, high blood pressure, tiredness, anxiety, diabetes and heart disease.
“Very poor air quality prescribes minimal outdoor exposure during peak pollution period which is normally in the late evening and early morning hours. Curtailing outdoor activities, including morning walks, in such air quality is a standard practice across the world,” said city-based physician Dr Diwakar Tejashwi.
- RERA slaps Rs10 lakh fine on erring firm Faryal Rumi | TNN | Nov 24, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA)-Bihar has imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on Eastern Estate Construction and Developers Pvt Ltd for advertising its projects on its official website without registering them with the Authority. The firm has been charged with violating the provisions of Section 3 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016.
After hearing the arguments and scrutinising the documents and financial annual audit report of the company, the two-member RERA-Bihar bench comprising Rajiva Bhushan Sinha and Subodh Kumar Sinha concluded that the company has been booking and receiving the payments against the duplex, simplex or economy-type bungalows and apartments in their ongoing project Techno City-Bihta in violation of the Section 3 of the RERA Act.
The action was initiated under Section 59 (1) of the RERA Act, which states that if any promoter contravenes the provisions of Section 3, s/he shall be liable to a penalty which may extend up to 10% of the estimated cost of the real estate project.
The Authority had earlier issued notices to the managing director of the company, Sanjeev Kumar, in May this year for non-registration of their two projects – Techno City and Sone Green Valley-Bihta. In reply, Sanjeev had stated that the first project, Techno City, had commenced prior to the inception of RERA and the construction work was stopped after the RERA came into force on May 1 last year.
Sanjeev had also justified that his second project, Sone Green Valley, was abandoned in 2012, but he forgot to remove the advertisement of the projects from the company’s official website. A RERA-Bihar official on Friday said the company removed the advertisement from its official website in August and filed online application for the Techno City project on October 1 along with the required documents.
- DMs asked to curb air pollution Piyush Tripathi | TNN | Updated: Nov 25, 2018, 07:27 IST
PATNA: Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) on Saturday asked district magistrates (DMs) of Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya to initiate measures to curb air pollution in the wake of worsening air quality in the three cities. The DMs of other 35 districts of the state have also been asked to take measures to lower air pollution.
TOI has been carrying a series of reports over the past few days, highlighting high air quality index (AQI) at three of the country’s worst polluted cities – Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya.
“You (district magistrates) are directed to implement city-specific action plan for prevention and control of air pollution and hold monthly review meetings and submit compliance report regarding the same. You are also directed to sensitize the general public regarding harmful effects of air pollution and elicit their support to control it,” BSPCB chairman Ashok Kumar Ghosh wrote in his letter to the DMs.
The action plan for curbing air pollution in Patna was released by the BSPCB in May. It talks about measures to be executed by different departments and agencies of the state government within specific deadlines, including phasing out vehicles more than 15-year-old, introduction of clean fuel, such as compressed natural gas (CNG), and ban on registration of diesel-driven autorickshaws.
At 423, the AQI of Patna was highest in the country on November 21. It dropped to 370 on November 22 but again surged to 373 on November 23. The AQI, however, plunged to 347 on Saturday.
The BSPCB has asked the DMs to prevent burning of dry waste, ensure regular check of pollution under control and fitness certificates, stop farmers from burning fodder and other farm produces and sprinkle water on roads.
- Cover all open manholes by Dec 30, Nitish tells officials Madan Kumar | TNN | Nov 25, 2018, 02:30 IST
PATNA: Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday reviewed the ongoing operation to search the 10-year-old boy who fell into an open drain near Mohanpur sump house in the state capital on November 17, and asked the officials to take steps to prevent recurrence of such a tragic incident.
The CM held the review meeting with the officials of urban development and housing department (UDHD), Patna district administration and Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) and inquired about every details of the operation which continued on the eighth day on Saturday.
The CM told the PMC and district officials to cover all the open manholes in the state capital by December 30 and take effective steps to free the city roads of stray animals.
PMC commissioner Anupam Kumar Suman earlier informed the CM that around 1,000 of the of 29,000 manholes in the state capital were open. He assured the CM they would be covered by December 30.
Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi suggested that the state government should formulate a policy for ensuring proper covering and cleanliness of the manholes.
Nitish said various kinds of accident were occurring due to the movement of stray animals. He asked Patna DM Kumar Ravi to take effective steps to keep all stray animals in the gaushala. “If needed, increase the capacity of gaushala and the number of its employees. Also, impose fine on the owners of stray animals,” the CM told the Patna DM.
Nitish further asked the UDHD officials to make similar arrangements of catching stray animals in other cities after improving the arrangement in the PMC area. UDHD minister Suresh Kumar Sharma also attended the meeting.
- Bihta to be developed like Gurugram, says deputy CM Sushil Modi TNN | Updated: Nov 25, 2018, 07:20 IST
Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi (File photo)
PATNA: Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi on Saturday said Bihta would be developed on the lines of Gurugram and the township will have eight-lane roads and an airport among other world-class facilities. Addressing a function to lay foundation stone of an incubation centre at IIT-Patna, Modi said the centre would give space to startups associated with electronic system design, manufacturing and medical electronics.
- 37 villages to be part of Biharsharif Smart City project Farrukh Nadim | TNN | Updated: Nov 26, 2018, 07:25 IST
BIHARSHARIF: The population of Biharsharif municipal area is likely to cross 3,85,000 from 2,97,295 in the next two years as the Biharsharif Smart City Board (BSCB) in a meeting chaired by Robert L Chengthu, the central zone commissioner-cum-BSCB chairman on Monday proposed to include 37 revenue villages around Biharsharif municipal area to be developed under the project.
Biharsharif municipal commissioner Saurabh Jorrwal said, “Altogether, 19 revenue villages of Biharsharif block, nine of Rahui and seven of Noorsaraiblocks have been proposed to be included in the Biharsharif municipal area and developed under the Rs 1,517 crore Biharsharif Smart City project, which got the Centre's nod in January.”
"If things go according to plan, the area of Biharsharif municipal corporation will also go up to 78.56 square km from the present area of 20.32 square km," said Jorrwal.
The municipal commissioner added that the Biharsharif Development Authority (BDA) has been asked to conduct a survey and submit its report in an year under the supervision of Biharsharif SDM Janardhan Prasad Aggrawal.
Besides these, the income of Biharsharif municipal corporation from property taxes will also substantially increase as 15,000 households would be added to the existing 48,641 households. The commissioner said a master plan is being prepared in this regard.
Biharsharif mayor Veena Kumari said, “The Centre and the state governments have already released funds of over 100 crore and work will be visible from early next year. Altogether 46 projects worth over 350 crore including developement of three bus stands, refurbishment of government buildings, roads, drainage and other infrastructure developmental projects are targeted to be completed in the next five years under the smart city project.”
- PMC begins covering Patna’s open manholes TNN | Updated: Nov 27, 2018, 15:02 IST
An open manhole of drainage on Buddha Colony road in Patna on Monday
PATNA: The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Tuesday started covering open manholes, two days after chief minister (CM) Nitish Kumar instructed officials to do so by December 30.
The directive was issued in light of the disappearance of 10-year-old Deepak after he fell into a drainage pit adjacent to a sump house in Punaichak locality on November 17. A joint team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force failed to locate the child dead or alive even after eight days of rigorous search operations.
According to sources, of the 30,000 manholes in the city, at least 1,000 are lying open and posing danger to the lives of common people, especially children. Open manholes have claimed several lives in the past. Besides, Deepak three other people, including two minors, have died after falling into open manholes in the city this year.
PMC deputy commissioner Vishal Anand said, “We have started covering open manholes and expect to complete the task by December 30.”
Asked which circle had the highest number of open manholes, Anand told this reporter, “All six circles have more or less equal number of open manholes. The civic body will address all complaints regarding open manholes in the city.”
Chandmari Road resident Manoj Kumar claimed, “The civic body workers did not cover open manholes to flush out excess water during the rainy season. They pose serious threat to people’s lives.”
S P Verma Road resident Quamar Alam said, “The civic body should also barricade all open drains in the city.”