Public Health Engineering department (PHED), which has been criticised by seers and saints for failing to provide adequate water supply, has now been accused of delivering polluted water at camps.
Mahant Pawan Bharti of Awahan akhara told HT that water supplied through lines installed inside premises of the Simhastha fair was too dirty to drink. “We are buying water jars of 20 litres capacity at Rs 25 each daily. Are these the arrangements for saints by the government?” said Bharti.
The seer was supported by saints in Kalbherav and Garkalika areas. Mahant Krishna Das from Bheravgarh area said, “The government might have done well in decking up the city but Simhastha is all about sadhus but no proper attention was given to basic needs at camps.”
“Why the works were not finished at least a month before when the government was claiming to start them four years ahead in 2012?” he questioned.
In line with allegedly disappointing efforts of the government, sub-standard material was used for laying and connecting water pipes in some camps, resulting in the pipelines developing cracks and spilling water at places. “The spilled water spread over ply board sheets, causing huge loss,” said Pavitra Rai, supervisor of works at the camp of Anand Giri of Niranjani Akhara.
The government has sanctioned Rs 164 crore for ensuring supply of pure water to seers during Simhastha. The estimated demand of water is around 160 million litres per day (MLD). Over 150 km of pipeline has been laid in the fair area with more than 225 tube wells dug to cater to requirements during the event.
PHE engineering-in-chief (ENC) G S Damor admitted that quality of cocks, particularly of push button type, was low for which leakages were frequent. “We have replaced 12,000 such cocks with half-round cocks in the Simhastha area,” Damor said.
When asked about complaints on supply of polluted water, Damor said water supplied in the fair area through tankers had high iron content and developed rust. “I myself got the tanks cleaned,” said the official, claiming that good quality water has been supplied through pipelines.
Principal secretary Pankaj Agrawal said testing of samples of water is being done every 4-5 hours and seers need not worry about issues related to hygiene.