City residents may have to bear the brunt of water scarcity on Wednesday, as atleast 170 tubewell operators from across the city have been deployed on election duty.
The areas including, Model Town, Model town extension, Salem Tabri, Janta Nagar, Gumar Mandi, Ward Number 37 and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, may not get water supply on polling day.
As many as 150 tubewell operators employed with the MC on regular-basis have been assigned poll duties, while others include employees of Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) and Water Supply and Sewerage Board. Nearly 600 contractual staff employed with the MC has also not been assigned poll duties, so they will perform their duty on April 30.
Water shortage has already been there due to the summer season, and the duties of tube well operators in elections could further worsen the problem. Sources said most of the operators were on duty at booth-level where they would facilitate the election process.
Duties for Lok Sabha elections are assigned by the deputy commissioner's office after a list of all government employees is sent to his office.
The major sufferers would be the residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (475-acre LIT scheme), where the lone tubewell operator has been put on duty. Earlier also, he was deputed at Raikot on election duty on March 12, but following hue and cry raised by the residents, he was brought back. Now, he has been again sent on poll duty. All four tubewells in the area are managed by water supply and sewerage board with only one operator.
There are atleast 61 tube-well operators in Zone D of MC. Most of these tubewells are being operated by contractual staff, but some are operated by the regular staff also.
The tubewell operators are either employed by the MC, or by LIT, while others come under the Water Supply and Sewerage Board. Additional commissioner Kamlesh Bansal said almost all tubewell operators who were employed with the MC on regular-basis had been assigned election duty.
"Those who have been hired on contractual-basis will continue with their duties" Bansal said.
On the other hand another tubewell operator at ward number 37 has also been put on election duty.
A junior engineer, associated with water supply at MC, said, "Although the civic body has made arrangements to make sure that residents don't face any problem, but it is also true that with so many operators on poll duty, water supply could get hampered across the city.