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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Ranchi pond catches fire, threat to Chhath devotees

Seepage of chemicals and lubricants from an adjacent transformer repair works unit stated to be the cause of fire.

ranchi Updated: Oct 16, 2017 16:57 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Curious onlookers look at flames emanating from Power House pond in Ranchi
Curious onlookers look at flames emanating from Power House pond in Ranchi(HT Photo)

A Ranchi pond on Sunday afternoon caught fire due to seepage of inflammable chemicals and lubricants from an adjacent transformer repair works (TRW) unit, said civic body officials, adding that aquatic life including fish had already disappeared from the pond.

The incident occurred in front of Ranchi mayor Asha Lakra, who visited the Power House pond in Chutia area to inspect cleanliness of the water body. Local residents informed her that the pond turned inflammable due to discharge of chemicals and lubricants.

“The pond surface suddenly caught a major fire when a resident lit matchstick on it. The vulnerable condition of the water body could invite a massive disaster if not checked in time. Thousands of devotees perform Chhath puja in this pond every year,” Lakra told Hindustan Times.

The mayor along with Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) officials was inspecting the sanitation situation of ponds of Ranchi in view of upcoming Chhath festival. Lakra said lakhs of people resided around the pond and TRW, which could turn disastrous if any fire incident occurred.

“I will send a notice to the TRW authority tomorrow and ask to close it immediately,” she said.

Munna Thakur, a resident of Krishnapuri in Chutia, said discharge of inflammable chemicals and lubricants was unabated into the pond for more than a decade.

“The pond, spread over 3 acres of land, was earlier famous for fish production. We have not seen fish for last two-three years in the pond. The high level pollution has killed the aqua life in the pond,” Thakur said.

The local ward councillor Rita Munda said that pollution in the pond was also causing various infections to Chhath devotees for last two years but civic body did nothing to clean it. “Several applications were submitted to RMC and electricity department, which owned the TRW. But all my requests went unheard till date,” she said.

Superintending engineer of Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (JUVNL), Ajit Kumar said that nothing was discharged either waste or chemical into the pond. “Even if there is report of seepage, we will send a team and fix it up,” he said.

This past Wednesday, hundreds of dead fish were found floating in Line Tank Pond near Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi. The locals blamed overuse of bleaching powder in a bid to clean the pond for the Chhath festival to be cause of this problem. However, when local residents raised this issue with RMC officials, the residents were asked to leave the office.

The mayor visited Line Tank pond on Sunday to take stock of the situation. She said a team conducted a probe and it would submit its report on Monday.

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 12:42 IST

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