Following a sudden increase in mud particles in Giri River, drinking water supply remained suspended in several parts of the town and its adjoining areas on the fourth consecutive day. Trouble started last week when a flash flood in the river caused damage to water lifting pumps at Gaurav village (situated on the banks of the river) and led to a rise in mud particles in the water at the Gaura pumping station, forcing authorities to suspend the lifting of water.
Sources in the state irrigation and public health (IPH) department revealed that concerned officials had not taken measures to prevent natural calamities despite repeated reminders. They said concerned officials did not even inform the local administration and public about the suspension of lifting operations which led to a drinking water crisis in and around the town.
On the other hand, municipal council officials said owing to inadequate water lifting pumps, drinking water was being supplied on the fourth and fifth day to several parts of Saproon, Shaktinagar, Kaleen, Ser-Kaleen, Housing Board, Old and new bus stand, Khundidhar, parts of Degree College area, Chambaghat, ward no 2, Kather.
Instead of supplying water to the entire town, MC authorities were choosing to provide regular water supply only to selected localities. In a few areas, water was supplied only on alternate days, causing great hardship to residents, sources said.
Sources in the department said the daily requirement of the town was around 18 lakh gallons whereas IPH authorities were providing only around 15 lakh gallons per day from two main pumping stations. Out of 18 lakh gallons, MC authorities were supplying over three lakh gallons of water to IPH's consumers every day.
"IPH authorities have curtailed the supply about four days ago which forced the MC to supply water on alternate days in outer localities of the town," said an MC engineer.
Holding MC authorities responsible for the water crisis, BJP leaders, including Shaliender Gupta, alleged that in addition to inadequate water lifting pumps, a faulty system of distribution was not only causing hardship to residents but also to hundreds of tourists visiting the town and adjoining areas. Gupta said IPH authorities should ensure adequate supply of water to the council. He said instead of passing the buck to each other, both departments should ensure the regular supply of water.
Denying curtailment of water supply, executive engineer of IPH, Solan, Hemant Tanwar, said as per the daily requirement of MC authorities, over 65 lakh litres of water was being supplied. He said since mud particles had reached 20,000 parts per million, the field staff had suspended lifting operations as the lifting of muddy water could damage the machinery and water lifting pumps. (The ideal range for mud particles in the water is 5000-8000 parts per million.) Tanwar said IPH had supplied 10 lakhs gallons of water on Monday and 65 lakh litres on Tuesday.