The reverse osmosis system at the mini secretariat here, which houses almost all the government offices at the district headquarters and sees hundreds of visitors daily, has been lying non-functional after the submersible motor meant to supply it ground water was stolen over two months ago.
The theft of the motor costing just Rs 10,000 has allegedly rendered the RO, installed at a cost of nearly Rs 6 lakh, useless for the public.
"The 70-feet deep submersible power motor meant to provide the RO ground water was stolen on September 9 along with the cable. It led to the closure of the RO. Though, we had also reported the matter to the authorities concerned immediately after the theft, but nothing has been done so far," said Gurpreet Singh, operator at the RO.
"It is very surprising that the submersible motor was stolen from the district administrative complex, but even after that, no action was taken," said a source.
The district administration wants the Health Point Services, the private company, which installed the RO under the public-private partnership mode, to install the new motor, but the company is not ready to do so.
"We cannot install the new submersible motor because it has been stolen. We are responsible for other kinds of maintenance. We would have replaced it if it had developed some fault as per our agreement. So, we have requested the district administration to install the new motor," said Myank, in-charge of the project in the region.
The company claims that there are also not many customers for the RO and they are not able to meet the maintenance cost also. One can buy 20 liters of water daily for a month from the RO by paying Rs 90.
"We have about 36 customers while the maintenance costs us about Rs 10,000 per month. We are also mulling to shift the RO to some other location," said Myank. Usually, the ROs have about 300 customers in other areas.
Mohammad Tayyab, deputy commissioner, said that he has asked the company to install a new submersible motor at the RO. "The company is responsible to install the new motor as it was handed over the RO after installation," he said.
"At least one reverse osmosis is required in the mini secretariat because of many visitors daily. There is no need to shift it to some other place. However, I shall look into the matter and find where the problem lies," the DC said, about shifting of the RO.
"If the RO is needed to be shifted from the mini secretariat to some other place, it might be shifted to Balwinder Nagar in Bazigar basti with about 10,000 population. There is only one RO there and if this one is shifted to the basti, it could attract many customers because most of the population does not get clean drinking water there. Most of the people are poor and cannot afford to have the domestic ROs installed," said Gurdit Singh Sekhon, a resident.