The ongoing power crisis coupled with the water shortage in royal city of Punjab has drawn the ire of residents, leading to numerous protests.
"Leaders make tall claims during elections but don’t do anything concrete to solve our problems. We will not allow representatives of political parties to enter our area until adequate water supply is provided to us," said protestors who had gathered at Bishan Nagar here.
The problem of water shortage has been an annual affair for the Patiala residents. However, long unscheduled power cuts have aggravated their anger.
The power cuts by the PSPCL have also crippled the PMC which is unable to run the tube wells in the city to tackle the problem. The five-lakh strong population of the city has been facing problems of water shortage and unsafe drinking water as the civic body scrambles to tackle the problems troubling the region.
Residents of Bhindi Wali Gali, Kila Chowk, B-tank, Khalsa Mohalla, Tripuri, Badugarwasti, Raghomajra, Sanauri Adda, Sanjay Colony, Rajura Colony, Bishan Nagar, Guru Nanak Nagar, Jhujjar Nagar, Mathura Colony, DLF Colony, Tafjalpura and the outer colonies are among the worst affected.
The claims of the Patiala Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Punjab government raised hopes among the residents. But, poor execution has offset several key projects.
The pipelines in the old city have never been replaced and the PMC, which is completely dependent on ground water, has installed around 125 tube wells across the city.
The much talked-about canal water supply scheme has not been implemented for several years now as the
government failed to provide adequate funds for the project estimated to cost `175 crore. The PMC had also failed to install chlorination systems in the city’s tube wells.
In resolving the problem, some residents have installed reverse osmosis system and submersible pumps while those from economically weaker sections of the society are left at the mercy of the PMC.
"The MC authorities should come up with concrete plans to provide safe drinking water. Who will be responsible if an epidemic breaks out," said Jagdish Kumar of Sanauri, where diarrhoea broke out last year. Water supply and sanitation department sub-divisional officer (SDO) Suresh Kumar said, “The water problem worsens during summer due to increased demand.” He added that the MC also suffered power cuts which made it difficult to run tube wells.