The open sewer (nallah), that carries the sewage of most parts of the town, is turning out to be a killer nallah. O on Wednesday, it claimed the life of a 50-year-old woman in the second such incident. A man had lost his life in it about 45 days ago.
The nallah was constructed years ago, but no municipality or government ever took the initiative of covering it properly. Nor is there underground sewerage system elsewhere in the town, though the town has been represented by the chief minister and the deputy chief minister in the assembly and Congress stalwart Jagmeet Singh Brar in Parliament.
“Eh nalla tan ji bahut purana hai, raje de velay da hi hai. Vee saal hoe gaya sannu pitdian nu, par kise ne saadi gal nahi suni (This nallah is very old. It has been there since the time the city was under king’s rule before Independence. We have been crying over this problem for over 20 years, but nobody has listened to us,” said Lal Chand, a resident of the town, whose house is situated near the nallah.
“It has made our life a hell. It is a source of continuous stink as the sewage from the town flows in it all the time. It has not been ever properly cleaned and, when it rains, the water level in it rises and overflows causing more problems for the residents,” said Lal Chand, an elderly man.
The nallah originates from near the Clock Tower and grows wider when it reaches near a private school. It runs about two kms along the road, passing along the Bhai Kanhaiya chowk and ends up in a small drain on the Arian Wala road.
“The nallah has never been cleaned up properly and during rain, water rises up to the level of the road and the passersby accidentally fall into it. On Wednesday night , a woman slipped into it when she began to walk on foot after their scooter got struck in rain water on the road and died as she could not be pulled out hurriedly.
“About one-and-a-half-month ago, a man Gurdev Singh had slipped into it. We had managed to rescue him from the nallah, but after six days, he died a painful death as he had developed infection from the sewage water that entered his lungs,” claimed Parveen Kumar Kala, president of the Sahara Club here.
“About 18 years ago, the municipal committee had illegally sold a plot, allegedly owned by the Improvement Trust and reserved for parking in front of the Nehru shopping complex, to private parties and many shops came up along the nallah, that makes its cleaning difficult at a stretch,” Kala alleged.
The residents have been demanding its proper cleaning so that during rain water does not get blocked in it and flows smoothly. The other option is to cover it after laying pucca cemented underground pipes, say some residents.
Sharuti Sharma, SDM and administrator MC, could not be contacted as she was busy in a meeting.
“We had on Tuesday met her and she had assured us to look for some solution after the elections are over,” said Parveen Kumar Kala, a resident of the area.
The town had got a project to lay a sewerage system before the parliamentary elections were announced, but when it would get materialised, only time will tell. Till then people have no option but to suffer.