The same story repeats itself once again. The usual water scarcity has hit Bathinda hard this year too. The only difference lay in the prior claims made by the municipal corporation and district administration, who said they were "adamant" about providing drinking water to the residents.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. The augmentation plan of the Rose Garden water works, which was to be completed by 2003, is now to get further delayed due to fund crunches. Funds for installing water treatment plants are there but those for laying pipes for water distribution are awaited, thus making it harder for district administration to fulfill its claim.
The municipal corporation has planned to augment the water project at the Rose Garden at the cost of Rs. 2,522 lakhs, which is expected to last till 2030. The treatment plant with a capacity of 50 lakh gallons has been completed and testing is on for 15 days.
Dimpy Saarwal, a resident of Guru Gobind Singh Nagar rues, "Bathinda has become a city of parched plains. The ground water is unfit for consumption and not enough treated water is available." Malkeet Kaur from Jujhar Singh Nagar adds, "the pressure of water is so low that it takes an hour to fill a bucket. This has resulted in scuffles between women. The erratic supply has made it difficult for us to lead a peaceful life."
A retired railway personnel, Jai Narain, who lives in Sanguana Basti said, "The fortunes of Sanguana Basti changed when the sewage disposal was dumped in the swamp meant for animals. Even this unclean water is available only in three to four streets. The rest are bereft of any water supply."
Though the district administration had plans to provide water to the town, but with the onset of summer water scarcity has hit Bathinda hard. Queues of people lining up to collect water at three in the morning are a usual sight. The areas most hard hit are Pratap Nagar, Guru Nanak Pura, Jujhar Singh Nagar, Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Ajit Road, Power House road and Guru Arjun Dev Nagar along with the colonies situated in the areas trans railway lines.
When contacted, Kamal Kant, executive officer of the Municipal Corporation, agreed that water pressure is very low in some areas. He also added that water projects would be completed by 2005 instead of 2003. The strain on water resources of the town were because while the arrangement was for 50,000 people, the number of people accessing the water supply was about six times the number. For providing water to the areas having no water supply three tankers have been pressed into service and the corporation is planning to hire few more.