THIRSTY CHANDIGARH No water: Power trips to blame

  • Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 29, 2016 15:24 IST
The maintenance of these pipes at the Kajauli waterworks is essential for Chandigarh to get water supply. (HT File Photo)

After a waterless weekend of June 23-24 for the major part of the tricity due to the breakdown of motors at the Kajauli waterworks, frequent tripping of power supply has emerged as the key reason for the damage to the machinery.

The facility is connected to a power hotline which means 24-hour power supply, yet the problem persists.

Since January this year, supply from Kajauli — located near Morinda, 28 km from the city — was stopped 48 times. Of these, power supply disruption on the part of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) was the culprit 39 times. The sudden power shutdown damages the motors. At other times, the MC had closed the waterworks for repairs.

MC pays Rs 1.6 crore for maintenance

Even if we ignore the recent blip in water supply, the public health wing of the Punjab government that maintains the Kajauli waterworks announces frequent disruptions in normal water supply to Chandigarh to maintain Phases 1, 2 and 4 of the facility. Incidentally, the Chandigarh MC pays Rs 1.6 crore to the department as maintenance charges besides Rs 27 crore for the electricity used for pumping water to the city.

Circuit breakers unchanged since 1992

A senior officer of Punjab water supply department claimed that PSPCL had

failed to replace grid circuit breakers and other equipment that have not been replaced since 1992.

This is even as the Chandigarh MC paid Rs 55 lakh to the PSPCL to change grid circuit breakers four months ago.

PSPCL Kajauli grid executive engineer NS Rangy said, “We have received the money from MC Chandigarh. For replacing the circuit breakers, we need to shut the Kajauli waterworks for a day and permission for this has not been granted.”

On frequent power shutdown to the plant, he claimed that it was a routine matter and could not be helped.

SAS Nagar public health wing executive engineer HPS Dhillon said that even the hydraulic system installed at Kajauli was outdated, having been installed in 1982.

“We had sent an estimate to the MC Chandigarh in May for approval and issue of funds for installation of the hydraulic system. Their approval is waited,” Dhillon added.

MC chief engineer NP Sharma could not be contacted for comments.

“During our visit to the facility last week, we found that Kajauli waterworks is not maintained properly, even as we pay a huge amount for maintenance. The matter will be taken up with the Punjab government. We will ask them to operate and maintain the facility, so that residents do not suffer,” city mayor Arun Sood said.

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