Chandigarh: Diarrhoea count reaches 337, MC fails to fix water supply system | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh: Diarrhoea count reaches 337, MC fails to fix water supply system

Even as the municipal corporation claims to have set right the problem of water contamination in Sector 18, people continue to report with symptoms of diarrhoea. With 28 cases to the fore on Monday, the total number of people falling victim to diarrhoea is now 337.

punjab Updated: Jan 24, 2017 16:49 IST
Hillary Victor
Water pipe repair work on in Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Monday.
Water pipe repair work on in Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Monday.(Karun Sharma/HT Photo)

Even as the municipal corporation claims to have set right the problem of water contamination in Sector 18, people continue to report with symptoms of diarrhoea. With 28 cases to the fore on Monday, the total number of people falling victim to diarrhoea is now 337.

Considering the gravity of the situation, with the supply of contaminated water going unchecked and unreported for days, the MC, on Monday, arranged water tankers for Sector 18. Officials also insisted that the water supply through pipes was also fine.

So, as the issue plays out, one thing that is clear from the episode is that the water supply infrastructure is poorly monitored and scant attention has been paid to its upgrade and modernisation.

The evidence to this effect is that in this financial year that started on April 1, 2016, only `8 crore of `25 crore (33%) allocated to improve the water supply infrastructure has been spent till December 31.

What’s even worse is that there are no new proposals in the pipeline as well.

This is even as the infrastructure has several bottlenecks and shortcomings that need immediate attention. Most pipelines are 60 years old and are corroded. Joints every 5.5metre mean that monitoring is critical. Most civic bodies in the country also have a leakage detector system, but the civic body has made no such arrangement.

The fact that, at several places, sewer lines run parallel and cross each other means that the city is sitting on a time bomb as far as another incident of contaminated water supply is concerned.

AREA NOT ISOLATED

Not only this, the MC officials were also not equipped to handle the recent contamination and did not follow the procedure that is mandated in such cases. For instance, after receiving the first reports of contamination from Sector 18C, the first step should have been the complete isolation of this part from other areas.

Another area that the MC has been unable to plug is leakages with estimated losses due to underground leakages put at 20 Million Gallon Daily (MGD) a day that can cater to 48,000 households.

An effort made in 2015 to tackle the issue came to nothing.

The water supply and sewage disposal committee of the MC asked officers for an area-wise mapping of underground pipes, but to date no such report has been submitted.

MAYOR TO FORM SUB-COMMITTEE

City mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal said that a sub-committee comprising five councillors and officers will in place next week to check the quality of water.

“The panel will check the quality of water supply to their sectors and the entire city once a week. In case, we come across any cases of contamination, action will be taken,” she said. Meanwhile, health officials took two more water samples from Sectors 18 A and B for multiple tube-testing. Department officials also visited 412 houses to check for any illness.

“House visits will continue for 3-4 days. The situation is under control,” said Dr Inderpal Sahni, state epidemiologist, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme. Meanwhile, the samples collected by the Health department for Hydrogen Sulfide test and multiple tube test have come out to be negative.

On Sunday, five water samples were taken hydrogen sulfide testing and on a day before, two samples from Sector 18 tubewell and Sector 26 waterworks were taken for multiple tube testing.