Buckling under the pressure mounted by internationally acclaimed sand artist and a Padma Shri awardee Sudarsan Pattnaik against pollution and poor upkeep of Bankimuhana shore, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha, on Thursday announced that it will float tenders for the diversion of wastewater as a permanent solution.
Sudarsan, along with his students launched a massive but civilized protest at the polluted Bankimuhana beach on Tuesday and was eventually hospitalized on Thursday after he complained of breathing problem. “The stretch of beach is in such a wretched condition that I suffered asphyxia. Hope the state government will now wake up and clean the beach,” Sudarsan said.
Pattnaik is protesting through his art to save the dirty Bankimuhana sea beach in Puri, Odisha from pollution. He also shared images of the heavily polluted beach on Twitter handle @sudarsansand, which evoked supporting reactions from Twitterati spread all across the globe making #cleanbankimuhana a trending tag.
“I am protesting (sitting on dharna) through my art against beach pollution at Bankimuhana,” he tweeted along with the images. Sudarsan had tweeted to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik to draw his attention towards the need to clean the beach last year. Despite CM’s reported direction, the condition of the beach has not improved so far.
Sudarsan’s association with Puri beach has been a long affair. His journey as a sand artist started from Puri. Sudarsan’s regular sand arts on contemporary issues are appreciated across the world and also attract a lot of tourist attention on the Puri beach.
Sudarshan’s tweet on Monday evoked responses from Twitterati as hundreds of people not only commented but many others, including BJD MP Baijyant Panda, retweeted it.
Puri is the hometown of Lord Jagannath, who is revered by people across India. It is also one of the most important sites on Hindu pilgrims’ annual calendar. The town is also famous for annual Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra. The Puri Beach and Jagannath Temple are visited by thousands of pilgrims daily.
Meanwhile, local communities in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have come forward to safeguard their poromboke — the beaches. Read more: Fishers turn climate scientists to save beaches