Nagpur: Transportation of soil extracted during desilting of Gandhisagar Lake is causing problem of dust pollution near the water body, especially on the road from Tata Parsi School to Empress Mall. Local residents have alleged that the contractor is transporting the soil in an “unscientific manner “.
The local residents had welcomed the civic body’s decision to rejuvenate the historic lake. According to one of the residents, Anil Mohta, though the rejuvenation work will give a facelift to the locality, the desilting work is causing dust pollution. “The soil extracted from the lakebed is being transported in uncovered trucks, due to which it is spreading on the road,” he said.
The soil extracted is initially damp, and when it falls on the road, lumps are formed making the surface uneven and bumpy. “When the soil dries up, vehicles using the road spread the dust particles in the air,” he said.
When TOI visited the locality on Monday, the road looked all dusty. Local residents told TOI that the desilting work has made their life miserable.
Residents are compelled to keep their windows shut throughout the day and night. “We have been facing this problem for the last one month. The problem has aggravated in the recent past. Despite complaining to the contractor and NMC’s Dhantoli zone office, there has been no respite,” said a local resident and lawyer Pranay Ajmera.
Ajmera claimed that the contractor assigned the desilting work is not following the norms. “Besides the air pollution caused by movement of trucks loaded with soil, the work being done at night is causing sound pollution. Many residents in the vicinity of the lake are irritated due to the nuisance caused by the work,” said Ajmera.
Pedestrians and people visiting the mall have no option but to inhale dust while passing through the area. According to Ajmera, the contractor poured water at some spots to settle the dust “but it wasn’t done for more than a couple of days”.
“The authorities are least bothered and complaints made virtually or physically have fallen on deaf ears,” Ajmera said and added, “The air pollution is not only suffocating but also leading to poor visibility because of the thick particulate matters in the atmosphere.”
Ritesh Shah, another local resident, pointed out that it is difficult to sleep as the desilting work is being carried out round the clock.
Nilesh Sambre, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) official who has been assigned to supervise the lake rejuvenation, admitted to receiving many complaints related to dust pollution. He said that spraying water on the road was making it slippery and causing accidents. “We are working on finding a solution,” he said.
Rejuvenation cost may increase by Rs10 cr
The rejuvenation work of Gandhisagar Lake is set to increase by Rs10 crore. Earlier, the NMC had estimated the project cost at Rs32 crore. However, after draining the lake, the contractor has stated that work has damaged the boundary and retaining wall. “This will lead to an increase in the project cost,” said an official. The NMC has also informed this to Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, “who has assured to provide additional funds from the government”.