Even two decades after its existence, Patiala Municipal Corporation has failed to put in place an effective cleaning mechanism to ensure potable water supply to city residents.
Nearly 50% of its 135 tubewells does not have chlorination dozers, which adds chlorine to underground water to make it disinfected.
Operation and maintenance executive engineer Subhash Sharma said despite the limitation, chlorination was ensured in entire distribution channels through interconnectivity of water lines.
But insiders feel that the system is not appropriate to ensure regular monitoring of chlorine concentration on each tubewell point, which is an important exercise to control spreading of the outbreak of diarrhoea and other communicable diseases .
However, the lack of system has indeed posed the risk on people’s lives. In 2015, of 170 samples tested from across the city, 64 were contaminated in areas including Anand Nagar, Dheru-Basti, Sanjay Colony, Guru Ravidas Nagar, Samania gate, Gandhi Nagar, Lahori gate, SST Nagar. Besides a layer of dust, some samples even contained bacteria and excess of salt.
Status of this season’s water potability test is not known as MC has not submitted water samples. On this, Sharma said he has already given orders for the submission of the same to the government laboratory for the testing at the earliest.
PROPOSAL GATHERS DUST
The lack of infrastructure preparedness on the part of the civic authorities is clearly visible. Of 135 tubewells in the city, dozers for chlorination of water have only been installed at 70 tubewells.
A proposal to install dozers in rest of the tubewells has not been taken on priority for last several years even as it does not involve the expenditure of not more than Rs 10-12 lakh.
Besides, tubewells are not properly caged as chlorine tankers are often found uncovered. In many cases, dozers don’t work and private contractor takes days to repair them.
Non-maintenance of chlorine record makes the things worse
“The MC has learned no lessons from recent diarrhoea outbreaks in Samana which claimed 9 lives,” said a city resident Mohinder Singh.
Another resident DC Gupta said that the MC should not wait for the similar tragedy to happen again and ensure proper chlorination in city’s water supply as per rules.
An official said that an estimate to install dozing machines was ready and would be taken up in next finance and contract committee meeting.