Sweepers on roll: 39. Sanctioned strength: 88
The Times of India News Service
KISHANGANJ: The herds of pigs, at anytime of the day, can be seen loitering around the busy marketplace or thoroughfares like the Dharmshala Road where their pastures in the shape of refuges and garbage are littered around. The reality of pig menace disgustingly reflects upon the lack of civic sense among the citizens as well as the inability of the civic body to keep the town clean.
Out of a total sanctioned strength of 88, the local municipality has today only 39 sweepers on its pay-roll as after gradual retirements, the civic body has not been allowed to recruit any fresh staff. Besides, the municipality, which came into being in 1868, does not have the necessary wherewithal or infrastructure like tractor etc for the disposal of garbage, say the civic body employees.
Unlike most other towns of Bihar, Kishanganj has an age-old drainage system which has further been fortified by construction of still more drains lately. However, wilful encroachments and haphazard constructions, often in the name of beautification, particularly at the busy Gandhi Chowk, have choked the drainage system and rendered it redundant. Besides, most of the drains, which are never cleaned regularly, are heavily silted. Whenever there is heavy downpour, all the filth and slush spill on to the roads, specially on Mahavir Marg. "They urgently need to be desilted," says Navin Kumar, former ward commissioner. As for the network of roads and alleys, Kishanganj surely stands on a different pedestal. The Hospital Road and Dharmshala Road and the alleys like Ruidhasa-Khanka Road and Milanpali, among others, were converted into plain cement concrete (PCC) roads and some other roads were made `pucca' at a whopping cost of Rs 50 lakh, says S K Jha, special officer of the Kishanganj municipality.
For the scavengers, a community hall was constructed in Madhavnagar and in Dulath bustee, community bathrooms and toilets too were constructed. Besides, several schemes were completed recently which have added to the glamour of the town. The bus stand and town hall are noteworthy, claims Jha.
Notwithstanding several commendable projects which have indeed helped in beautifying the old and decrepit town, upkeep and maintenance leaves much to be desired. Roads like Dangi bustee and certain localities of the town are in terrible shape, says Prabhu Prasad, another former ward commissioner.
The topography of this town is such that waterlogging seldom poses a problem here. The network of drainage and existence of a rivulet Ramzan which virtually bisects the town, helps adequately in discharge of rain-water. It is unlike Purnia and some other towns in the division, asserts A N Saha, former vice-chairman of the municipality.
Other civic amenities like water and electricity, though beyond the jurisdiction of the municipality, are either big irritants or hang like millstone around people's neck, rues Kailash Prasad Modi, district chief of the Congress.
Due to old taxation, the civic body is often in financial crunch. The rates need to be revised, says Jha.