Globally acclaimed sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik, who had launched a hunger strike at Puri protesting beach pollution, was shifted to a hospital in Bhubaneswar today as he fell ill. Pattnaik was taken to a private hospital in the state capital as his condition deteriorated, two days after he began the strike on the beach near Bankimuhan in the seaside town demanding quick steps to make the area pollution free, sources said. While launching the protest action, the sand artist had said he decided to sit on dharna on the beach at highly polluted Bankimuhan area as his request to Odisha government for measures to save the area from pollution went unheeded. “I am protesting (sitting on dharna) through my art against beach pollution at Bankimuhan,” the famous artist had said in a Twitter post along with the images of his sand art carrying a message “Save Bankimuhan Beach Puri.”
Pattnaik said he had communicated a message to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik through Twitter last year drawing his attention towards the rising pollution at the beach and the need to clean the area. However, despite the chief minister’s direction to the concerned authorities to keep the beach clean there has been little improvement in the situation, he said. The artist said he had also created a sand art last month to show the pathetic condition of Bankimuhan beach. He had also threatened to stage a dharna if the government fails to take steps to tackle the problem.
Meanwhile, the Puri Municipality has launched a drive to clean up the beach near Bankimuhan. Puri Municipality Executive Officer Sanjay Mishra said a large number of workers have been engaged to make the area pollution free at the earliest.