Threat of breach to embankment has loomed over the Ramlingam tank, the large water body at the heart of Berhampur.

Continuous rains have filled the water body almost to the brim. If rains would continue, then it may also start to overflow leading to collapse of the dilapidated embankments. In such a case, it may lead to flooding of the densely-populated localities like Gandhi Nagar and Dharma Nagar.

A portion of its embankment along with a section of road by its side collapsed on the southern side of the tank in the past.

The Phailin cyclone and the present rains have led to collapse of another portion of its embankment on the eastern side. The greatest danger is that this tank is located at a crowded portion of the city which has three film halls and several eateries.

Although bricks have been placed to check people from getting near the tank at the places where the embankments have collapsed, yet people seem to ignore the warning.

The metal structures for large hoardings that had been put up around the tank got uprooted due to the cyclone weakening the condition of embankments of the tank.

Berhampur tahsildar Rashmi Ranjan Nayak has admitted that the condition of the embankment after the Phailin cyclone and recent rains became too dangerous. The official has said that he has drawn the attention of the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) to it. It may be noted that through a petition, Ganjam Bar Association former general secretary Manoj Patnaik has urged the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Berhampur to intervene and direct the BMC to take up renovation work of dilapidated and collapsed embankment of the tank as early as possible. But the BMC has not been in a position to renovate it due to legal hurdles.

Legal tussle

Tussle between the BMC and a private trust on ownership of the tank is said to be the major reason for deterioration of the large water body called ‘breathing space' of this city. In 2011, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik intervened to save the tank.

At his initiation, Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) started cleaning of the tank in February 2011.

The corporation authorities convinced the trustees that this large tank could not be let to die out due to pollution and it needed immediate renovation as the trust was not taking any steps to clean or renovate it.

But legal tussle put a stumbling block in the whole process.

The continuing pollution of the tank due to dumping of garbage by eateries and automobile workshops around the tank continue to pollute it by dumping garbage into it.

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