An epidemic may be lurking around the corner as nearly 50,000 people living in heavily-populated colonies in Chandigarh have been forced to consume un-chlorinated water as the local municipal corporation cares two hoots about their health.
The chlorinators installed in the tubewells from where these colonies get water have not been functioning for the past three months. These colonies include Dadumajra, Colony No 4, Industrial Area, Phases 1 and 2, and Dhanas village.
According to information, chlorinators installed at 40 tubewells in the city have not been functioning.
The un-chlorinated water is also being supplied to Sectors 44, 45, 48 and 52. However, they have been only partially affected as these sectors also receive water supply from various waters works in the city.
On March 11, nearly 100 cases of diarrhoea and gastroenteritis were reported from the EWS Colony in Sector 38 West following alleged consumption of contaminated water being supplied from a tubewell.
Narinder Choudhary, general secretary, Resident Welfare Association, Dadumajra, said, "It is unfortunate that the tall claims by the MC of providing clean drinking water have fallen flat. Every other day, the residents in our area have been falling ill after consuming contaminated water. We have repeatedly sounded the authorities, but nothing has been done. Even the tank that stores water from the tubewell has not been cleaned for years.
An MC junior engineer said, "We have repeatedly requested the authorities to repair chlorinators, but to no avail. The agency doing the repair work on chlorinators has been blacklisted, and now no new company has come forward to repair them. Senior officials are taking the things lightly."
Anil Kumar Bansal, executive engineer, Public Health Division No 3, admitted that chlorinators were not functional and they were in the process of repairing them. He said they were using bleaching powder for purifying water.
However, it is a different matter that bleaching powder is not directly put into the water supplied by the tubewell.
MC deputy mayor Satish Kainth said, "It seems people have to depend on the whims and fancies of the public health department officials as they are not bothered about such a serious issue. I will take up the matter with the MC commissioner on Wednesday as to why the department is not taking the issue seriously, despite the availability of funds. We will also raise the issue in the forthcoming house meeting and will fix the responsibility."