More than 25% residents of this industrial city are facing acute shortage of drinking water, making it harder for them to live in this scorching heat.
Though the SAD-BJP government had been making tall claims to provide uninterrupted drinking water to all the urban residents, the local municipal council, which was given 'A' category status by the state government, has failed to provide drinking water to one-fourth of the population living under its jurisdiction.
Interestingly, the council neither installed water supply pipes in its entire jurisdiction nor any tubewells to provide drinking water to these residents.
As per the 2012 census, the number of people living under the jurisdiction of Batala municipal council was 1,58,404, out of which more than 25% of the residents are facing acute shortage of drinking water due to the alleged negligence of the council authorities.
According to available information, after spending crores of rupees in the 1980s, the state water supply and sewerage department had constructed seven water tanks at various locations, including the bus stand, Qila Mandi, Bhandari Gate, Faizpura, Shanti Nagar and Dharampura colony to provide uninterrupted water supply to the people but due to some undisclosed reasons, four of these tanks are not operational for the past many years.
Sources in the council said that the department did not have motor pumps of adequate capacity to fill water in these tanks. Moreover, two pump operators are needed to fill water in these tanks and it takes 6 to 8 hours to fill them. Due to the lack of adequate manpower and shortage of motor pumps, these tanks have been lying unused.
There are a total of 17 tubewells which are operating in various parts of the city. In the year 2000, the state government, after passing a special ordinance, increased the limits of the city by 6 km by including 33 adjoining villages under its jurisdiction but in the subsequent 13 years, the council neither installed any tubewell or water tank nor laid any water supply lines in these newly added localities.
The condition of rest of the localities, where the department had laid water supply pipes and installed tubewells, is not very different.
The residents of many inner localities like Chakri Bazar, Purrian Mohalla, Orhi Chowk, Multani Mohalla complain of non-availability of water in the municipal tabs.
When contacted, water supply and sewerage board SDO Jugal Kishore said that the central government had approved a special grant of `23 crore for providing adequate water supply and sewerage system in the entire city and the first installment of `12.65 crore had already been received by the board. With this amount, 12 new tubewells will be installed at Sunder Nagar, Shukarpura, Kutbi Nangal, Amma, Gaunspura, New Model Town, Chander Nagar, Faizpura and Malavi Di Kothi. The department will also install new water pipe lines in these localities and the entire work will be completed by March 31 next year.