Even as the municipal corporation (MC) and deputy commissioner (DC) claim that insanitary conditions at ‘vehras’ were behind the recent outbreak in Prakash Nagar, Jawaddi, and adjoining areas, the authorities concerned have overlooked the old water pipes in city and filthy conditions near tubewells managed by the MC.
Civic body’s city development plan (CDP) report, which was sent to ministry of urban development, had highlighted the issue of contamination of water due to cross connection of sewerage, poor water quality, cracked water pipes, and large number of illegal connections in different areas of city.
But, the civic body itself has failed to ensure safe drinking water for residents, many of who use water purifiers.
Heaps of garbage strewn around the main water supply pipe at tubewell in Chaura Bazaar are a reflection of MC’s apathy. The tubewell supplies water to the entire Chaura Bazaar area with a population of thousands. Besides, people often urinate in the public less than two feet from the main water supply pipe.
Many residents also claim that chlorination is not done in several areas, which sources attribute to shortage of chlorination systems with the MC.
Also, water pipes passing near manholes are also an open invitation to outbreak of diseases.
An MC official, requesting anonymity, said the CDP report was sent to the union government to provide funds for upgrading the city’s water supply system.
“Water contamination is generally behind outbreak of diarrhoea or gastroenteritis. The fact is that the sewerage system was laid with poor workmanship and poor specifications in different areas of city. Therefore, sewage leaks into water supply lines passing near the manholes,” said Jaswinder Singh, former superintending engineer, Punjab water supply and sanitation department.
“It has also been observed that with passage of time, the galvanized iron (GI) pipes in house connections get cracks and allow entry of sewage. Nowadays stainless steel pipes are available, and it must be made mandatory that all pipes running underground for house connections are of stainless steel. They are a little costlier than GI pipes, but they will help prevent several water-borne diseases,” he suggested.
Ramesh Srivastav, a resident said, “The MC should ensure cleanliness near areas where tubewells are functioning. Any contamination through cracks or joints could lead to a major outbreak of diseases. But MC seems least concerned.”
MC officials generally ignore reports of the health department that often find that water samples are unsafe for consumption, by claiming that these samples are not collected in presence of MC staff.
MC’s superintending engineer for operations and maintenance wing, Kamlesh Bansal, claimed they would ensure chlorination of water and maintain cleanliness outside tubewells.