Residents of Ram Nagar area of Mandi town have alleged that workers of a contractor, who has been handling sewage pipelines in the town on behalf of the irrigation-cum-public health (IPH) department, have found a unique way to clear blockage in sewage pipelines.
Instead of removing the blockage, they allegedly puncture the pipe to let the sewage directly submerge into the Suketi sub-river, a tributary to Beas river. Locals Praveen Thakur and Jagan Nath Sharma said workers adopted this route when they failed to remove the blockage while attending a complaint.
“Now, the sewage directly submerges into Beas river water and pollutes a number of drinking water lifting schemes,” they added. They said the sewage system of Ram Nagar area could collapse anytime now as the nine-inch pipeline was not enough to bear the load of the rising population of the area. Besides, the hanging pipeline that crosses along the Suketi sub-river is too old and had decayed.
They also claimed that the work of laying another pipeline was moving at a snail's pace for the past many years. Sharma said the locals were preparing a documentary and visual proofs to submit a petition in the Himachal high court and the pollution control board soon.
Sharma said when locals saw the pipeline leaking, they tried to contact the contractor and his supervisor on the phone, who said that according to their knowledge and report, the complaint of blockage had been solved already.
Sharma said the locals had informed the higher authorities of the IPH, Mandi Municipal Council, and the local administration, but to no avail.
Supervisor of the contractor Jai Kumar said they had undertaken the work just five months ago whereas problem of the pipeline was too old and the pipeline had already rusted.
He added that the present pipeline could not bear the load of the sewage of the area and the IPH department should ensure speeding up of the ongoing work of laying of the new pipeline system to avoid the repeated situation of leakage in future. However, he denied the allegation of puncturing the pipe to avoid blockage.