Expressing concern over water shortage across hundreds of Punjab villages triggered by disconnection of power supply to the waterworks, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday demanded strict action against panchayat members and nagar council presidents concerned for defaulting on electricity bill payments.
In a statement issued here, Amarinder said residents of 650-odd villages where power to the waterworks had been disconnected could not be made to suffer for the “criminal negligence” of panchayat and nagar council representatives. Demanding immediate restoration of power supply to the waterworks, the Congress chief ministerial candidate said people could not be deprived of their right to safe drinking water, which he said was part of the constitutional right to life.
Promising stern action against those responsible once the Congress assumes power in the state, Amarinder said the situation was yet another example of the Badal government’s misgovernance in the state. “While PSPCL is well within its rights to take necessary steps to secure payment against outstanding bills, it could not be allowed to unduly harass innocent villagers,” he said.
Amarinder said groundwater in many affected areas, including Mansa and Muktsar, was unfit for human consumption, and things could get out of hand if water supply was not restored immediately. Coming close on the heels of the SYL canal row, this development could lead to major escalation of water tensions in Punjab, he said, stressing the need for an alternative solution to the problem of pending power dues.